TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 06: Tom Gilbert of the Cowboys runs the ball during the round four NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sharks at QCB Stadium on June 06, 2020 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

He may have already made his State of Origin debut, but young Dolphins prop Tom Gilbert says it was more than just family motivations that prompted him to move from Townsville down to Brisbane ahead of the club's inaugural season.

While Gilbert will always treasure his time at the Cowboys, he believes the exposure to an experienced forward pack full of representative stars is just what he needs to take his already imposing game to the next level.

“For me, it was a decision that was made for my family,” Gilbert told the Daily Telegraph.

“It was easy to make and something I really wanted to do. I'm really happy to be standing here in a Dolphins jersey.

“I love the Cowboys and what they're doing at the moment… but I'm proud to be a Dolphin. I'm really excited about what's ahead.”

Though the club has faced challenges in recruiting headline talent to the halves or outside backs, the Dolphins will have an experienced starting forward pack including both Jesse and Kenny Bromwich as well as fellow former Storm player Felise Kaufusi. They'll also have former Rabbitohs cult hero Mark Nicholls and former Broncos and Titans prop Jarrod Wallace.

“For me to go to the next level, I really need players like Jesse, Kenny and Felise around me to support me,” Gilbert said.

“When I was talking to (Wayne Bennett) and going to sign the contract, that's what gave me a lot of comfort . To be around these blokes every day, I hope it can bring the best out of me.

“I'm 22 and young in my career. To go to the next level I need to be coached and get advice and other people to help me.

“I'm coming here to be under one of the best coaches to ever coach in the NRL and some of the best leaders in the NRL. That's an opportunity I didn't want to waste.

“Jesse (Bromwich) is the Test captain of New Zealand has been a Melbourne captain and leader for plenty of years. For a young forward like myself to play alongside someone like him is an honour.”