Townsville Blackhawks wrecking ball Tom Gilbert is ready to play NRL.
The 19-year-old, who is contracted to the North Queensland Cowboys, started the year hoping to play Intrust Super Cup. Not only did he debut Round 1 after a strong pre season, he has dominated in the competition.
Gilbert was part of the XXXX Queensland Residents side - made up of Cup's best players - that enjoyed a 42-22 victory over NSW Residents at Dolphin Stadium on May 12.
And this year he has been an absolute workhorse, averaging 142 running metres and 29 tackles in an average of 55 minutes per game.
The Cowboys have fallen on some disappointing form in 2019 and are currently sitting in 14th place on the NRL ladder, with two rounds of the regular season remaining. They cannot make finals after winning only one of their past six games.
The Cowboys boast one of the best forward packs in the NRL with Jason Taumalolo, Matt Scott, Coen Hess, Gavin Cooper, Josh McGuire, John Asiata and Jordan McLean making up what many would consider a formidable pack.
Despite the big names and experience, the forward pack haven’t quite played to their potential this year.
With Scott ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a minor stroke, now is as good a time as any to blood young powerhouse forward Gilbert.
Gilbert has been named on the extended bench for the Cowboys over the past couple of weeks, but is yet to make his NRL debut.
The Cowboys have been lacking aggression and go-forward in their pack for the most part of the 2019 season. Gilbert, who is in contention to take out the 2019 Intrust Super Cup Lock of the Year after an outstanding season for the Blackhawks, has plenty of aggression and go-forward.
The Cowboys will play the Canterbury Bulldogs tonight at 1300 Smiles Stadium.
Gilbert is currently named as 18th man - he's an outside chance to make his NRL debut if there are any late changes.
Will we see the young tyro make his NRL debut for the Cowboys before season's end?
Only time will tell.
Tom Gilbert's Intrust Super Cup season statistics
- Appearances: 21
- Tries: 4
- Tackle breaks: 44
- Post contact metres: 1026
- Average hit ups: 15
- Offloads: 4
- Tackles: 614
- Tackle efficiency: 87 %
- Average running metres: 142 metres
- Total running metres: 2979 metres