Local junior Tom Chester has agreed to a one-year contract extension to remain at the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys through at least the 2025 season.
Born and bred in Townsville, Chester attended renowned rugby league nursery Ignatius Park College before graduating to the Cowboys Young Guns program in 2021.
He joined the NRL squad in 2022 and made his NRL debut later that season. Chester appeared in seven NRL games in 2023, three of which came as starting fullback, deputising for a suspended Scott Drinkwater.
The 22-year-old’s season was cruelly cut short by an ACL injury in Round 9 against Cronulla. Chester was leading the Cowboys Paul Bowman Medal voting at the time of his injury.
The utility back is expected to return to a full training load following the Christmas break, with the aim of returning to play early in the season.
“It was a horrible way to end what was a promising season for Tom last year, but he has worked as hard as anyone in our building to come back from injury over the last six months,” Cowboys General Manager of Football Micheal Luck said.
“Tom still has a little way to go, but we know he won’t leave any stone unturned to make the best possible recovery.
“Tom is a terrific team man and he is a great asset for Todd (Payten) because he can play a number of positions. We believe his best spot is fullback, but we see potential for him to play in the outside backs as well.
“This additional year gives Tom some surety about his future as he makes his recovery from a serious injury.”