THE 2018 rugby league season could be a defining moment in the career of Scone Thoroughbreds junior Jock Madden.
And, it appears as though things will just keep getting better.
The talented teenager led the NSW under-18 team to a thrilling 16-10 win over Queensland in June, and then captained the NSW CCC (Combined Catholic Colleges) side to victory in the Australian Secondary Schools 18 Years National Championships a month later.
Not only was he chosen as the Player of the Championships, selectors named him in the national squad to tour England.
This is after Madden represented his state with the under-16s and picked up the SG Ball NSWRL Player of the Year award, with the Newcastle Knights, in 2017.
Now, he has the opportunity to shine again after the Wests Tigers confirmed him as one of the club’s development players for 2019, along with Tommy Talau, Kane Bradley and Jersey Flegg star Alex Seyfarth.
The NRL initiative allows organisations to sign a maximum of six youngsters each year.
They’ll train full-time with the NRL squad but are not eligible to play first-grade.
Wests Tigers recruitment manager David Warwick said the club was looking forward to watching the teens take the next step in their rugby league journey.
“All of these young men possess excellent talent and we're delighted to have them join the club,” he said.
“Training full-time for the year is a great challenge, however it will certainly see them progress a long way as a result of being around the senior group.
“As we saw with the success of our development players in 2017, having that time with the NRL squad is greatly beneficial to their growth on and off the field.
“We’re excited to see how this year's bunch progresses throughout the 2019 season and beyond.”
Australian Schoolboy and New South Wales junior representative playmakers Madden and Talau join the Tigers from the Knights and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respectively.
Bradley, a dynamic back-rower who stands at 195cm and 102kg, was also named in the NSW under-18 squad earlier this year.
Seyfarth was a part of the Tigers Jersey Flegg squad in 2017 and 2018.
He represented NSW in the under-18 State of Origin match against Queensland, too.
All four development players will begin full-time pre-season training when the NRL squad returns in November ahead of the 2019 season.