ORANGE CYMS’ junior Toby Westcott’s rise to rugby league stardom took a new twist in 2015, with the prodigiously talented half signing a three-year contract with the Penrith Panthers.
Westcott played in North Sydney’s NSWRL Harold Matthews Cup side in 2014, and had the option of returning to the Bears this season.
Instead, he signed on the dotted line for the Panthers and has since been selected in the final 24-man squad for 2015 after pre-season training began some five months ago.
“I just decided to move on, Penrith offered me a three-year contract and I decided to take it up,” Westcott said.
“They’re a very strong club, and they have done a lot for me already. Plus, it’s a bit closer to home as well. It’s a really good opportunity for me.”
Westcott has trained, and trialled, in the Panthers’ no.7 jersey, and said he is set to do so again in his side’s final trial against Western Suburbs this weekend.
“I know nothing about them,” Westcott laughed.
“Then we roll straight into the season. It’s been very professional so far, we’ve been training since September, and it’s a very tight knit sort of set up.
“I’ve mainly been training at halfback and hooker, so cementing one of those spots is the first goal.”
The Harold Matthews season kicks off on Saturday week for Penrith, with the boys in black hosting Canberra Raiders at Sportingbet Stadium.
“Other than (cementing a spot) I’m just looking at having a good, consistent year,” Westcott said.
“The way my contract works it does depend on how I go this year, so that’s another reason I’d like to do well.”
Following the Harold Matthews season Westcott is expected to return to his home club CYMS for the back end of the 2015 Group 10 under 16s season, and he called on anyone interested to join him at the green and golds.
“It’s the best of both worlds, playing footy all year round with my mates and at the higher levels,” he said.
“The club’s junior registration day is coming up in a couple of weeks too, so hopefully I see some new faces when I get back.”
CYMS registration day is on Saturday, February 14 at Norton Park from 11am to 2pm.