Dewsbury Rams have sured up the half-back position after the premature retirement of Gareth Moore, adding Australian Jacob Thomas for the 2019 season.
The 25-year-old can also cover at fullback, and arrives at the club from Queensland-based club Normanby Hounds, taking up a teaching position in Leeds after completing a teaching degree back home.
Previously playing under the stewardship of Ben and Shane Walker at Ipswich Jets, Thomas was the Brisbane Premier Divison’s leading points scorer and Player of the Year while at Normanby in 2015 at the age of just 21. He also finished last the club’s top try-scorer that season, a feat he managed three seasons in a row between 2015 and 2017.
Excited by the prospect of furthering his career, he said:“Someone at my old club put me in touch with someone at the Rams, the attraction was the opportunity to play Championship rugby overseas. With the English system being as it is with relegation and promotion you are never far away from playing in the Super League.
“Fortunately for me starting work here wasn’t difficult so that is something else that attracted me. The hours work well, and with Leeds being a rugby area where I am now living, hopefully I can teach the students some parts of the game too.
“I would say halfway through this year I started to formulate the plan to come to England to play rugby. I started to follow the competition and results and saw what could be a good fit for me.
“Dewsbury popped up as one of the clubs in the area I was interested in and I am very fortunate that the opportunity presented itself to play for the Rams.”
There was one stumbling block for the Australian who arrives in the UK with his girlfriend, bringing over his cat. An expenditure that was far more than expected coming up to Christmas.
“It cost me $650 Australian to get from Brisbane to London, me and my girlfriend wanted to bring the cat over, and to do that it cost us $3000 Australian to get our cat from Brisbane to London,” he said.
And speaking at last week’s Yorkshire Cup press conference, Chairman Mark Sawyer admitted that the club are still actively working to strengthen their squad for 2019, with prop forward the next position to find cover for, but added that the dynamic of Leigh Centurions’ uncertainty staggered the recruitment process in the division.
“We’re a little light in one or two areas but the money is there to be spent,” he told Total RL.
” We could do with a couple of props.”We’ve got a squad of over 30 training now and they’re on four nights a week. We’ve got new faces who haven’t got the exposure in the Championship and we’re very hopeful they can.
“We’ve been talking to one or two forwards. The Championship had issues in recruitment with what level Leigh would come in at and that’s impacted on the available pool. If we get a couple of props then the coach will be happy with who he’s got. It’s tough division this year make no mistake.”