DEWSBURY RAMS’ squad edged closer to completion with the announcement of the signing of Australian player Jacob Thomas.
The 25-year-old, who can play at half-back or full-back, has signed for the Rams for 2019, and coach Lee Greenwood revealed that the club were fortunate to claim his signature.
“He had signed for another club over here, but then for whatever reason it turned out that wasn’t going to happen,” he explained.
“He’s already sorted out accommodation and his job, so he didn’t want to be stuck without a club. His agent in Australia got in touch and said ‘would you be interested?’
“We’re all for giving lads opportunities, lads that have potential and seem to have the right attitude, and that’s the same with Jacob.
“It’s hard to tell from Australian highlights the level and how people would adapt to the game over here. It goes from being nice and warm to horrible over here, and just feeling his fingers at training on a night has been difficult for him!
“It might take a bit of time but I haven’t got a lot of time to mess about, so he does need to show us something pretty quickly, but he’s showed some pretty good touches in training and knows what he’s doing, and he’s trained really well. He could be a find for us, but it’s hard to tell without playing a game for us.”
The versatile player began his career with Normanby Hounds in Queensland, and moved onto Wests Brisbane Panthers and Ipswich Jets before returning to Normanby, where he topped the club try-scoring charts for three years in a row between 2015 and 2017.
He has now moved to the UK for a new challenge, combining rugby league with his job as a teacher in Leeds.
“Fortunately for me starting work here wasn’t difficult so that is something else that attracted me,” said Thomas. “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 half-way 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.”
Thomas can play in a number of positions in the back division, including at full-back where Dewsbury are without a recognised number one.
He said: “I played the majority of my junior career in the half-back or dummy-half position, then coming into the under 18 (and) under 20 age group I then started to play at full-back
a bit more.
“Since then I have played in both positions regularly and (I’m) quite happy to be in both positions depending on what the team needs.
“I don’t know what the full-back position is like here but in Australia that position has a lot of competition for it, whereas half-back is a little harder to come across.”
Greenwood is satisfied with the business done in assembling a squad, although chairman Mark Sawyer has revealed that the club are still on the lookout for a couple of prop forwards to add to the pack.
“We’ve kept a portion of the player spend aside to find those props, but other than that we’ve assembled a quite exciting looking squad,” he said.