He held the trophy aloft as the victorious NSW under-20’s skipper last year and played a leading role for the Newtown Jets in their all-conquering 2019 season, with Sharks young gun Teig Wilton now setting his sights on a successful NRL career after signing a long-term contract extension with the Cronulla club.
From Narooma on the NSW South Coast, Wilton’s new three-year deal will see him remain in Sharks colours until at least the end of the 2023 season.
Despite still being eligible for the Jersey Flegg competition Wilton played in the Canterbury Cup last year with the Jets and his form at a senior level, added to his progress through the recent pre-season, will see him come into contention for an NRL berth at some point in 2020.
Sharks coach John Morris has no doubt the 20-year-old has a big future ahead of him.
“He’s a super kid, good character, well respected by his peers, trains really hard and lives by the values of the club,” Morris said. “He’s a highly rated rookie, he’s come through our system, SG Ball, he won a Jersey Flegg premiership, Captained NSW 20’s last year, played for the Jets.
“His signing is exciting news for the club.”
After being spotted at an open SG Ball trial, Wilton was signed by the Sharks, trained with the under-18 squad in 2016, returned to the South Coast, then made the move to the Shire permanently in 2017, making an immediate impression with his ball running ability, skill and high work rate.
The backrower took out the Club’s Junior Rep Player of the Year in 2017 before earning a promotion to the Jersey Flegg side where he captained the young Sharks team in their premiership winning season of 2018.
Wilton represented NSW Country Under 16’s, NSW Origin 18’s and was twice in the Blues 20’s side, the second of those two years as team captain.
In 2019 he was an integral member of the Jets championship-winning team in the Canterbury Cup and now into his second full season training with the Sharks NRL squad, Wilton was thrilled have secured his future at the Cronulla club.
“It was a massive move for me to come up here but the club has given me so much, especially coming through the grades,” Wilton said. “When I was coming off contract I really just wanted to stay at Cronulla. I love all the staff, the players, the people. It’s an honour to play for the Sharks.”
Wilton will now set some goals as he looks to forge an NRL career, while taking in as much as he can from the senior players in the Sharks squad.
“I want to learn as much as I can and play my best football, but I’d definitely like to make my NRL debut and pull on that Sharks jersey,” he said.
“I’ve got the best mentor I could possibly have in Wade Graham, I get to watch him train everyday and I try to take a little bit from all the senior players, how calm and clear they are, what they want to achieve in their game and how they know their role.
“I’m always asking questions,” Wilton added.
As for what type of player fans can expect, Morris believes Wilton has some similarities to a recently departed Sharks utility.
“Teig has a bit of Kurt Capewell about him. He’s a little unorthodox, has good skill, can play edge, in the middle or he could slip into the centres if he had to. He’s been impressing at NRL level through the pre-season and he’ll push Briton Nikora, Wade Graham and Soro (Scott Sorensen) for a backrow position,” Morris said.
Wilton and the Sharks break today for Christmas and New Year, with the full squad to return early in January to continue preparations for the 2020 NRL season.