Widnes Vikings have completed the signing of half-back Jordan Johnstone from the Cumbria Storm Under 19 Regional Academy.
Johnstone, 18, played four games on trial for the Under 19s in 2014 and will now return to the Select Security Stadium on a one-year deal with the Under 19s academy.
A former Kells amateur player, he played a handful of games in the Championship for hometown club Whitehaven.
He said: “I had a good month in 2014 and have been itching to come back. I went back to Cumbria and it’s been a bit of a waiting game so I’m relieved that the hard work has paid off.
“My aim is 100% to play in Super League and hopefully this year I can learn a bit and create opportunities for myself, and impress Brett and the coaches.”
Johnstone will spend the full pre-season training with the first team and hopes to learn off those around him, especially captain Kevin Brown.
He added: “I’ve already spent a little bit of time with Kevin, and it’s good to be around him and learn off him as he plays in a similar position to myself. He’s already talked to me a lot about my game when he’s been down to see the Under 19s.”
It is likely that Johnstone will stay at the Select Security Stadium throughout 2016, rather than being dual-registered with partner club Whitehaven.
He follows in the footsteps of Brad Walker in signing from Cumbria, the RFL’s Regional Academy which is now run in partnership with the Vikings.
Vikings Head of Youth Phil Finney said: “Jordan really impressed us in 2014 and so we set the wheels in motions in sorting out the logistics of getting him here.
“He’s pretty tough, he’s a big lad for a half-back. He’s good in defence, aggressive and a good organiser. He’s the sort of character the boys listen to and the sort of person we want around the place.”
You can watch Jordan Johnstone and the rest of the Under 19s in action as part of the Full Viking Stronghold Membership, which includes free entrance to all home Academy fixtures within its raft of benefits.
For a full list of benefits and how to sign up, click here.