Hooker Josh Chudleigh will graduate from the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ NYC program to the NRL squad in 2015 after today signing off on a one-year contract extension.

Originally from Canberra, the 20-year-old joined the Cowboys at the start of this season and has played 14 of the club’s 16 NYC matches in his first year in Townsville.

“I think every young footballer dreams of playing in the NRL and now I’m one step closer but there’s still a lot of work ahead of me,” Chudleigh said.

“If someone had told me this would happen 12 months ago, when I was playing in the Canberra local competition, I just wouldn’t have believed them.

“It was a big move to come up here and play in the 20s, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far.”

Chudleigh played a part in Canberra’s run to the SG Ball under-18s grand final in 2012 before deciding to take a break from football.

But after being coaxed back to the field by Queanbeyan Blues coach and former Raider Simon Woolford, Chudleigh enjoyed a standout first full season in first grade in 2013 that ended up earning him a start with North Queensland.

He crossed for 13 tries in 14 games for the Blues and was named as their players’ player of the year.

The young hooker has continued that good form for the Cowboys, regularly featuring amongst his team’s best each week to be a strong contender for end-of-season NYC Player of the Year honours in 2014.

“Josh has been a stand-out this year and fully deserves a chance with our NRL squad,” Cowboys recruitment manager Clint Zammit said.

“He’s a dedicated young footballer who works very hard at improving his game.”