Penrith have announced the promotions of Izack Tago, J’maine Hopgood and Taylan May to their 30-man senior list ahead of the 2021 season.
Tago has signed a three-year deal with the Panthers after an impressive run at training under coach Ivan Cleary.
The 18-year-old centre stated his excitement of being promoted to the senior side.
“I’m super happy and grateful to commit my future to Panthers,” Tago told the club website.
“I really want to make the most of this opportunity, keep working hard and put my best foot forward for the club.”
OFFICIAL. Panthers trio Izack Tago, J'maine Hopgood and Taylan May promoted to the club's top 30. Congrats! 🙌🏽
— Penrith Panthers (@PenrithPanthers) February 27, 2021
Hopgood has signed will join the senior list for the 2021 season with the Panthers holding an option to extend his contract for a further 12 months.
The 21-year-old will be elevated from the development contract he signed in June last year and revealed his gratitude to be joining Cleary's squad.
“To get moved up to the top squad is really exciting cause it’s one step closer to an NRL debut,” Hopgood said.
“From the moment I came to Panthers I’ve been chasing that dream and now it’s a lot closer.”
May, the younger brother of Panthers five-eighth Tyrone, also joins the squad after developing through the ranks at the Riff.
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity and so proud to be part of this club,” May said.
“I honestly never thought I’d reach this point so it’s a bit surreal, but I’m ready to make the most of it.”
Cleary echoed the efforts of the young trio, stating the promotions are well deserved.
“As a development club we’re committed to creating opportunities for players who come through the Panthers system,” Cleary said.
“Izack, J’maine and Taylan have earned upgraded contracts with their performances in our junior grades, and their particularly impressive effort throughout this pre-season.
“All three of them stepped up over summer and showed they can compete at the same level as our top squad.
“We look forward to their ongoing development and are excited about their future in Panthers colours.”
The Panthers will start their 2021 season against the Cowboys on Saturday, March 13 at Panthers Stadium.