Year 10 Shalom College student Thomas Morcom is already kicking goals in 2021, having just signed a three year contract with the Broncos.
The Bundaberg player was recruited into the next stage of the team's development program after already completing two years with the club in the junior development squad.
He will now be added to the junior academy division and will travel to Brisbane six times per year as part of a strict training regime.
“I am very excited to start. Just to be associated with the Broncos is a huge achievement and honour for me,” Thomas said.
Character is key in Broncos program
Broncos representative Simon Scanlan said Thomas was one of nine players picked for the special squad, which focused on training young players.
“I manage our elite player development programme, which in essence is our recruitment development programme for our junior pathways through the NRL,” he said.
“We'll start working on identifying players as young as 13 or high school age and then they ultimately progress, if they get all the way through the program, into the NRL squad.”
Simon said what really caught his eye about Tom was more than just his pure talent for the game.
“Tom's a talented young man but it's more about character at a young age,” he said.
“You know, we're after boys with strong character and being a good person is the most important part of that, and Tommy has that part covered.
“Our work ethic is really important, having an attitude where you want to improve and get better and take on feedback as well as an attitude of not giving up, that's the characteristics we're after.”
Simon said it was also about development and improvement.
“Our program is based much more on opportunity than achievements,” he said.
“Tom's got a wonderful opportunity to learn through the program and he's the type of player I think will excel because of the characteristics he's got.”
Simon said as part of the program Thomas would travel to Brisbane to train with the squad multiple times a year.
After that, the field was open to opportunity for the young sportsman.
“There's opportunity possibly for Tom to come down and work in a group that's called the Emerging Group,” he said.
“Then some of those young men can progress further. So there's a direct pathway from what Tom's in now to get the NRL.”
Footy success is earned
Thomas said he was thrilled with his place in the squad, something he had been striving towards from a very young age.
“I started playing footy when I was six years old with The Waves and have been with them ever since,” he said.
“I would love to continue on with the Broncos, I think they are a really amazing team and I have been a big fan ever since I started watching football.
“I have been in the Broncos system for a few years now and I feel so honoured to be offered this contract and happy that they have seen my hard work.”
School support for Tom's footy journey
Principal of Shalom College Dan McMahon said Thomas was was a great role model at the school and had a fantastic opportunity in front of him for a flourishing football career.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Tom,” he said.
“The Broncos have recognised talent in this young man that potentially might progress in him becoming a star of the future.
“He's a good young man and contributes well across the whole school community.”
While the Year 10 student will be kicking goals on the field, Mr McMahon said he would also be hitting the books hard as he continues his schooling in Bundaberg.
“I'm really pleased Broncos have created a structured program for young people which allows them to stay at home and continue going to the school of their choice,” he said.
“They'll arrange a couple of times a year when Tom has to go to Brisbane but mostly he'll be here doing his studies at home, sleeping in his own bed at night and contributing locally, but still being part of the Broncos program.
“It's really nice to see young people who can make it. They've got to be prepared to put in the work and Tom does just that.”
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