After playing every senior game for his home club South Warrnambool, Isaac Thomas will finally get the chance to test himself in the TAC Cup on Sunday.
Thomas, whose father Ben played in the Brisbane Bears 1991 reserves premiership, will pull on the Greater Western Victoria Rebels jumper for the first time this weekend against the middle of the table Northern Knights.
Roosters coach Mat Buck said the bottom-aged player deserved his spot in the side.
“He has had to have a big pre-season after a 12-month recovery from a knee reconstruction and to play every senior game as a 17-year-old after an injury like that is an amazing effort,” Buck said.
“It’s a credit to him. He is a great character and has put the work in to get himself back and he has been rewarded with a Rebels game, which is really pleasing.”
Buck said Thomas, who has been playing mostly in defence, but has enjoyed stints in the Roosters’ forward line, has many great qualities in his game.
“He is a big strong boy that goes hard at the ball, but he is also a good kick and he is a very smart player,” he said.
Koroit’s Josh Chatfield also returns to the Rebels side after recovering from injury. He played his first game back from a stress fracture in his foot, where he spent time in a moon boot, for the Saints under 18.5 side last week.
Saints coach Chris McLaren said Marc Greig and the Rebels coaching team had put a lot of faith in the young forward.
“He has obviously showed a bit of promise for the Rebels to put him straight back into the team one week after returning from an injury,” McLaren said.