Chasing NRL glory

FORMER Eastern Suburbs junior Josh Jerome has added goal kicking to his repertoire as he aims to debut in the National Rugby League competition in the 2011 season with Melbourne Storm.

While Jerome is not in the NRL squad of 30, Storm under-20 manager Chris Jones said his best opportunity to play in the top grade would be during the 2011 silly season when the club’s international and state players are involved in representative games.

“Josh is brave enough for the NRL and can hit hard for his size in defence,” Jones said.

While Jerome played a lot of his early football for Melbourne teams at fullback, the club now considers him a winger in the under-20 side.

“He is quick enough to play the position in the NRL,” Jones said.

“Like a lot of young lads, he can have some bad days (on the field).

“In the 2011 season, he needs to maintain the form he shows in his best games and close the gap to his worst games.

“There will be more opportunities for him next year than in the past.”

The Melbourne NRL squad of 30 includes 10 players from the under-20 side of the past two seasons and Jerome would make that 11 with top performances in the under-20s early in the season.

The 2011 season is shaping up as an important one for Jerome as it is his last in the under-20 ranks.

Jones said Jerome was bashing his way through another tough pre-season.

“He is a good character and having a crack at it (making NRL),” Jones said.

Last season, Jerome built a reputation as a goal kicker and landed many attempts from touch for his team.

Jones expects Jerome will again have the goal kicking duties in 2011.

“He has a stable kicking rhythm and is sometimes better from touch than closer in,” he said.

Jerome represented the South West Mustangs while a junior and also played under-18 games with the Warwick Cowboys while still in the under-16s for the Eastern Suburbs.

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