Justin Toomey-White is eager to get back into a maroon and white jersey on joining the Wellington Cowboys as the club’s latest signing for 2018.
The former Cowboys captain-coach has returned to the Central West following a two-year stint at Wyong during which time he contributed to the Roos’ 2017 Intrust Super Premiership NSW grand final win against Penrith Panthers.
Club president, Darren Ahsee, said the champion footballer’s return will fill a void in the club’s ranks which was lacking a quality forward.
“Justin’s experienced, he’s very talented and it will help the team but also he’s a good bloke at heart,” Ahsee said.
“He’s a person who gives 100 per cent both on and off the field and a lot of the younger players look up to him so he will be an asset right across the club.”
Toomey spent preseason training full-time with the Sydney Roosters NRL side before his return to Wellington. It adds to his wealth of knowledge obtained through stints with the Raiders 20s in 2009, Bulldogs in 2011 and most recently Wyong.
He now looks forward to sharing that knowledge with his home-town club which he believes has flourished under the guidance of captain-coach Aidan Ryan and a new committee.
“The Cowboys have always been home and always where my heart’s laid,” Toomey said.
“The town is really excited at the player calibre they’ve signed, and the boys who are sticking around who have always played for Cowboys, it’s very exciting.
“Where the Cowboys are heading with the board and where they’re heading with the club it's a really exciting club to be a part of.
“What’s happening off the field is making the players really keen and ready for when the trials come about in Round 1 at Nyngan.”
Wellington will reap the benefits of Toomey’s return as he joins the likes of high quality players Nathan Merrett, Adrian Davis and Reggie Saunders.
Add that to a pool of local talent in Brogan Black, Richard Peckham, Lewis Stanley, Mac Dutfield and Brock Naden and it’s shaping up to be a big year for the Cowboys.
“I haven’t played with Nathan before but he’s an all-round legend who has played a lot of footy with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and will bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the club,” Toomey said.
“It’s so exciting to have him and also have AJ Davis and Reggie Saunders.
“The club has done well to get good, experienced players to the club and also really good people that have the club’s best interest at mind.”
Toomey said while the calibre of players looks neat on paper, there is a lot of work to do both on and off the paddock.
“It doesn’t happen overnight but if we put the hard work in the results will slowly but surely show on the field,” he said.
“There’s a fair few new players so the connection there will take a bit of time to come together, but if the boys keep training as hard as they have been the club is in good stead.”
The Cowboys will have their first hit-out at Peak Hill on Sunday. Ahsee confirmed Wellington won’t play its key signings or more experienced footballers in a move to give the younger players more of a run.
“I’ve always kept up to date with Group 11 because it’s my home competition and there’s some good clubs out there, particularly grand finalists CYMS and Nyngan who will have a pretty good team as always,” Toomey said.
“We’ll focus on ourselves and whoever we come up against each week. At the moment we’ll just get ourselves right for the season and trials coming up starting this week in Peak Hill.”
The Cowboys’ first group trial is against Westside on April 8.