Schoolboy lands Gold Coast Titans development contract

Torino Jackson, pictured representing the South Island Scorpions, has signed a three-year...
Torino Jackson, pictured representing the South Island Scorpions, has signed a three-year development contract with the Gold Coast Titans. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
It has been a whirlwind year for Torino Jackson.

After playing his first game of rugby league earlier this year, Jackson could never have envisioned the journey the sport would take him on.

The 16-year-old has signed a three-year development contract with NRL club the Gold Coast Titans, after being scouted while representing the South Island and New Zealand.

He, his family and his supporters were "mind-blown" at what the rising star had achieved in his inaugural season.

"Everyone’s just loving it," Jackson said.

"I’ve had a couple of weeks for it to settle in.

"When I was first going through it all, it was overwhelming, but I’ve got used to it — just can’t wait to go over there, to be honest."

The King’s High School pupil hoped to head to Australia next week following his school exams and had enrolled at Palm Beach Currumbin.

Jackson, who plays either middle or second row, has played rugby union for Zingari-Richmond since he was 3.

He moved through the junior system at the club before playing for the King’s First XV and decided to give rugby league a go this season.

"I just love any contact sport. I love rugby and I know I would have loved league."

After trialling, Jackson was selected for the Otago under-16 team, playing in a tournament in Oamaru, where he was selected for the South Island Scorpions under-16s, who won the national youth title.

While playing for the Scorpions, Jackson, who was supported by Dunedin-born player agent Nathan Jones, was named most promising player and was scouted by both the Titans and the New Zealand Warriors, eventually settling on the Titans.

Across the Ditch, Jackson, who also represented Aotearoa boys under-16s at the national Whanui rugby league tournament, will be put through the Titans junior system and train alongside first-grade players.

He will play for his school and the Tweed Seagulls club, and play other club games for the Titans at the end of next year.