The Canberra Raiders have signed Bailey Simonsson on a one-year development contract for the 2019 season.
Simonsson, 20, has been training with the Raiders during the past few weeks of the pre-season and has impressed the clubs coaching staff to secure a contract for the upcoming season.
It's been an interesting journey for Simonsson, who was part of the Raiders junior development program in the past, playing alongside Nick Cotric in the clubs Harold Matthews team (under 16s) in 2014.
Since then he has been part of the Bulldogs junior System and has also spent time playing rugby in New Zealand, including a stint with the National Rugby 7's team.
Simonsson said he's looking forward to the opportunity ahead and said he's goal is to take the next step in his career with the Raiders.
It's very exciting to be back in Canberra, I'm good mates with Nick Cotric so it's great being back with him and playing in Canberra," Simonsson said. "I've got a real desire to play in the NRL and especially in Canberra with the first side that gave me a chance when I was younger. To back here and play is a bit of dream."
Simonsson said the varied experience he's had so far in his short career was something he valued and could bring into the next phase of his career.
"I went up to Sydney for a little while and then moved across to New Zealand and played with the All Blacks Sevens side. It's been a good journey and I'm happy to be back here," he said. "I'm really grateful for the opportunity I had to play for the All Blacks Sevens side. I learned so much playing with some of the best players in the world."
Raiders recruitment and High-Performance Director Peter Mulholland said it was great news for the club to sign Simonsson as a development player and said he looked forward to seeing him become a better player with the opportunity he has now.
"Bailey has a lot of natural talent and we believe signing him as a development player gives us an opportunity to work with him to help him into the next phase of his career," Mulholland said.