The Jetstar Gold Coast Titans have secured another potential star of the future from the club’s own junior nursery after re-signing emerging teenage talent Kayne Lawton.
The 19-year-old hooker/halfback has been granted a two-year contract extension until the end of 2011 and has also received an upgraded deal for this season.
Lawton, a graduate of Palm Beach Currumbin High School, has been added to the Jetstar Titans’ first grade training squad during the pre-season and is viewed as having a long-term future with the club in either the No.9 or No.7 jerseys.
His re-signing comes after ongoing negotiations with hooker Nathan Friend became stalled earlier this week when a deadline placed on a revised offer from the Titans expired.
Jetstar Titans managing director Michael Searle said the club was thrilled to have secured Lawton, who has been much talked about in rugby league circles since he helped guide Palm Beach Currumbin through to the national semi-finals of the Arrive Alive Cup in 2007.
Lawton is also a former Queensland Schoolboys representative.
“Kayne is a Tweed Coast Raiders junior who has come through the Palm Beach Currumbin system, so he is the perfect example of why this club was set up in the first place’’ said Searle.
“He is a real athlete and we see him as having a bright future with the Titans, most likely in the No.9 jersey.
“He is currently training strongly with the first grade squad and it looks like he’ll be pressing for a first grade spot this season.’’
Lawton gained an initial taste of the rigours of first grade training during the 2008 pre-season and is one of a handful of graduates from last year’s NYC side to have been promoted to the Jetstar Titans’ NRL squad this pre-season.
Jetstar Titans coach John Cartwright has rated Lawton one of the better performers over the summer.
“Kayne has been working really hard since we’ve started pre-season training,’’ said Cartwright.
“He was one of the leading players in last year’s NYC side before he suffered an ankle injury but he’s shaping up well for this season.
“He’s a skilful ball player who can play in both the halves and at hooker but I see his long-term future being at hooker.’’
Lawton, who weighs 84kg but in the gym lifts weights equivalent to some of the biggest players at the Jetstar Titans, said he was thrilled to have secured his future for the next three seasons.
“Being a Tweed Heads junior, it’s great that I can stay on the Gold Coast and play for the Titans,’’ said Lawton.
“It’s exciting to sign until 2011 because now I can just concentrate on improving as a footballer.
“It’s my goal to push for a first grade spot this season and that’s what I’m firmly focussed on doing.’’