SADDLEWORTH rugby league starlet Josh Thewlis says he is ‘buzzing’ after being given his first professional contract.The Grasscroft-based player has signed terms with Super League side Warrington Wolves after breaking into their first team last season.
Thewlis, 17, impressed in his natural position of full-back on his first-team debut against Catalans Dragons when he became the club’s second youngest ever player.
Now the product of Waterhead Warriors will train full-time alongside England and Great Britain internationals Daryl Clark, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Joe Philbin and Blake Austin.
He also has his future sewn up for the next three years.
Thewlis will work with Gareth Widdop, who is arriving at Warrington after establishing himself as a star in the NRL down under.
And he cannot wait to take himself to the next level in a full-time environment.
Thewlis said: “I’m buzzing to be at this club for the next three years.
“I’m looking forward to more hard work!”
Thewlis’ impact in his first appearance impressed Warrington coach Steve Price, who sang his praises after his debut.
He said: “You coach for these type of days and when you see a 17-year-old – the second youngest player to make his first-team debut in the club’s history – it is fantastic.
“He has come through our scholarship and our academy system and it makes me a proud coach.
“I wouldn’t have put him in if I didn’t think he was tough.
“There were two examples that stood out to me for me to give him his debut, one was last year when he was playing in the Under-16s against Wigan and although it wasn’t his best game, his will to win was outstanding.
“And the other example was when we went on an army camp, he was phenomenal. It was tough and it nearly broke a few players but he was good.
“I’m really big on giving opportunities to the local community kids and that’s the route we are going down moving forward. Hopefully there will be a few more in the years to come.
“Josh has got a bright future, but he has got a lot of hard work ahead of him and we will make sure we keep him grounded.
“He is still only a young kid and has a lot of growth to go. We have got a duty of care as coaches to look after him and we will.”
Thewlis, whose father Kevin featured in the Independent after postcards from the Galapagos Islands dropped through his letterbox, was joined by Ellis Longstaff in getting professional terms.
And Paul Anderson, Warrington’s academy head coach, believes both earned their reward.
He said: “Both Ellis and Josh are hardworking and humble people, and fully deserving of these contracts.
“They are not only a reflection of what they do on the field but also of the continued hard work they do of it.
“As a club, we are extremely excited that two more players have graduated from our academy system, as we aim to keep producing our own players of a high standard with the belief that we can make Warrington Wolves a continued threat at the top of Super League.”