PERTH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 15: Dean Ieremia of the Storm runs the ball during Day 2 of the 2020 NRL Nines between the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm at HBF Stadium on February 15, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Melbourne Storm announced on Monday afternoon that local speedster Dean Ieremia has been promoted to their 30-man squad for this season.

After crossing the line in the Storm’s cruisy 30-10 trial game victory over the Knights in Albury on Saturday, the Victorian born back was elevated from his previous development contract to fill the 28th spot on the reigning Premier’s roster.

Although the club stated that Ieremia was in the frame for Round 1 selection next week, the 19-year-old faces stiff competition for a starting position, with Reimis Smith, Isaac Lumelume and George Jennings the frontrunners to claim the club’s vacant right wing position.

The former Sunbury Tigers product has previously lined up in purple, after representing his boyhood club at Nines level last season and in a pair of trial games across the last two years.

Still yet to debut, should Ieremia break through for a first-grade game, he will be the latest Victorian born player to represent the club, after Mahe Fonua started the trend in 2012.

In the statement released by the club, Storm General Manager of Football Frank Ponissi spoke glowingly of Ieremia as well as the pathway programs set up by NRL Victoria.

“NRL Victoria has done a great job in developing Dean through their junior grades and then into the Thunderbolts system,” Ponissi said.

“They identified him early on as a player with potential and he is starting to vindicate those predictions.

“He will continue to work hard on his game and push for a spot in the gameday 17.

“We will also be looking to extend Deanโ€™s contract past the 2021 season.”

Having spent the entirety of his life based in Victoria, Ieremia spoke of his love for both of the states major codes – including his affection for his current employer.

“As a Victorian I did follow both AFL and NRL,” he said.

“Richmond was my AFL squad and of course I followed the Storm.”

The newest name on the Storm roster also expressed his admiration for last year’s Clive Churchill medalist, Ryan Papenhuyzen.

“Paps is a talented player but his work ethic around the game motivates me as a young player to put my best foot forward in everything I do,” he said.

“To be honest Iโ€™ve learned a lot from everyone in the Storm system, not only game related things but things outside of footy – the importance of family for one.”

Melbourne kick off their title defence next Thursday night against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at AAMI Park.