Tom Gilbert entered the 2019 season hoping to play a handful of Queensland Cup games, he finished it as the competition’s Rookie and Lock of the Year.
The 19-year-old debuted for the Townsville Blackhawks in Round 1 and held a mortgage on the No.13 jersey for the remainder of the season.
Gilbert quickly emerged as one of the competition’s best forwards and was rewarded with a spot in the Queensland Residents side mid-season.
He also started at lock for the Queensland Under 20s side in their clash with NSW prior to Game Three of the State of Origin series at ANZ Stadium.
Gilbert was on the cusp of an NRL debut a number of times late in the season with Cowboys head coach Paul Green regularly including him in his 21-man squad and he served as 18th man on two occasions.
After spending 2019 on a development contract, Gilbert will graduate to the Cowboys’ top 30 in 2020.
2019 stats (QLD Cup)
Average tackle breaks: 2
Average run metres: 139
Average post-contact metres: 49
Average tackles: 29