Northern Pride is proud to announce that forward Sheldon Powe-Hobbs has landed a train and trial contract with NRL premiers North Queensland Cowboys.
The 23-year-old prop will join up with the Cowboys for pre-season training on November 23 and remain in Townsville for the 2016 pre-season trials in a bid to seal an NRL deal.
Powe-Hobbs has already had a taste of the NRL with the Melbourne Storm Under 20s in 2012, before a fractured back saw him miss the whole of the 2013 season.
The Babinda Colts and Cairns Kangaroos product returned to Far North Queensland to star for Northern Pride in their historic treble-winning season in 2014, before impressing once again this year, landing the Pride Players’ Player of the Year award.
“Obviously it’s every kid’s dream to play NRL and I’m no different,” said Powe-Hobbs. “It’s going to be pretty exciting to be training and playing with first grade NRL players.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a naturally skilled footballer, but I’ve put in a lot of hard work and sacrifices to get where I am.
“I certainly don’t think ‘I’ve made it’, but I’ve had a couple of good years, and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.”
Powe-Hobbs said he had already spoken to former Pride teammate and current Cowboys forward Ben Spina regarding his initially temporary move south.
“I’ve had a chat with Ben, and with (Pride and Cowboys forward) Patrick Kaufusi about what to expect, and I know it will be a lot of hard work,” said Powe-Hobbs.
“They can’t speak highly enough of the coaching staff.
“It’s also great to have JD (former Pride coach and current Cowboys assistant coach Jason Demetriou) there, as he can help me out and make it easier for me.”
Pride coach Joe O’Callaghan said Powe-Hobbs fully deserved the recognition for his powerful displays for the Pride over the past two seasons.
“Obviously I am very excited for Sheldon gaining this opportunity, and look forward to him bringing his experience back for a positive influence within our playing group both on and off the field,” said O’Callaghan.
“Personally, it is really pleasing for me as a coach to have watched how Sheldon has progressed since coming back to us at the start of 2014 – watching a player develop like this is why we work at Intrust Super Cup level.
“It’s attributes like his toughness, agility and skills for his size and his willingness to work that I believe will ensure he makes the most of the trial down there.”
O’Callaghan recently announced several new Pride signings for 2016, including 2014 Intrust Super Cup top points scorer Khan Ahwang, halfback Brayden Torpy from Gold Coast Titans Under 20s, and 22-year-old backrower Rajan Opetaia-Halls from the CQ Capras.
Pride’s Intrust Super Cup squad will start preparations for next season when they meet at an induction day in Cairns on Saturday 31 October, before officially starting pre-season training on Monday 2 November.