NRL Rd 11 - Broncos v Storm
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Tom Dearden of the Broncos in action during the round 11 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium on July 24, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Good news Broncos fans – rising halfback Tom Dearden has declared he wants to stay in Brisbane.

Of-contract at the end of the 2021 season, the 19-year old been linked to the North Queensland Cowboys amid reports he met with the Townsville-based club.

However, speaking to The Courier MailDearden revealed he has no interest in leaving Red Hill.

“I want to stay at the Broncos,” he said.

“I love the club and this is where I want to be. I have the whole year here now before I’m off-contract so I’m looking forward to the season ahead.”

It shapes as a critical season for Dearden – one of the game’s most exciting halfbacks – as he looks to deliver on his potential and become an asset in the Broncos’ halves.

He and Brodie Croft are currently fighting it out for the No. 7 jumper in Kevin Walters’ side, with Dearden seemingly just ahead at the moment.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 30: Tom Dearden passes the ball during a Brisbane Broncos NRL training session at Red Hill on April 30, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

But Dearden believes the competition is healthy as the Broncos aspire to send out their best 17 in next week’s season opener against the Eels on Friday night.

“There’s competition for spots, I know that, so my focus is on keeping that number seven jumper and we’ll see how things go,” he said.

“Last week against the Cowboys was a trial game so that’s what those games are for, to get things sorted and put some plans in place.

“It didn’t go to plan for us in the second half but I felt we showed some promising signs to build on going into round one.

“We can’t slip away again in the second half when the premiership starts.”

Dearden has played 17 NRL games for the Broncos since making his first-grade debut in 2019.

He joins fellow off-contract young gun Kotoni Staggs in pledging his future to the Broncos, who last month signalled his plans to stay at Red Hill.