Down Syndrome athlete Thomas Ross-Buzza has made his A-grade rugby league debut for the Caloundra Sharks in a heart-warming highlight of his final year as a player.

The popular 18-year-old clubman ran on against the Kawana Dolphins on the weekend and scored a try in a dream-come-true scenario.

Thomas has been playing with the club since his early teens and always aspired to become an A-grade player.

 

17-year-old Thomas Ross-Buzza, who has Down Syndrome, has fulfilled his dream of running on for a first grade rugby league game. www.7plus.com.au/news #7News

Posted by 7 News Sunshine Coast on Monday, 13 August 2018

"He just loves being part of the crowd; one of the boys," said father Gavin Buzza, a first aid officer for the Sharks.

"They are so accepting of him. He's a great kid."

The idea to hand Thomas his debut was concocted between A-grade coach Troy Harvey and Under 18s coach Mitchell Phillips.

"It looks like it will be Thomas's last year and we knew he always wanted to A-grade," said Phillips.

"Kawana were great about it and, in fact, all of the clubs have been whenever we've played Thomas in our team in juniors.

"With him having to play senior footy next year, he will probably run water to stay involved more permanently, so this was a special memory.

"Everyone is so happy about it. We've had a lot of injuries in A-grade and we got beaten heavily on the weekend, but Thomas's debut has lifted everyone's spirits."

Thomas's try for the Sharks in A-grade was not his first for the year.

He has scored four tries in 15 appearances in under 18s this season, and over the years has formed a friendship with fellow Sunshine Coast product and Queensland Origin rep Matt Gillett.

"I'm very proud," mother Linda Ross said.

"It's something Tommy's wanted to do.

"It's like a dream come true."

Thomas's final under 18s appearance will come this weekend against Bribie Island.

News of the stunning debut comes weeks after organisers announced that four clubs will look to enter teams in the Physical Disability Rugby League Queensland competition in 2019.