North Queensland look to have uncovered the find of the NRL Auckland Nines in Gideon Gala-Mosby but are likely to keep him in cotton wool for the start of the season proper.
The 19-year-old flyer was the best performer on the opening day of the tournament at Eden Park, bagging four tries despite being substituted in the second half of both the Cowboys’ opening pool games.
The Torres Strait product sent an ominous warning when he scored with his first touch of the ball and produced a series of stellar moments throughout the day.
The former Queensland schoolboys sprint champion showed why he is being touted as the fastest man in rugby league with his first try in the Cowboys’ 13-12 loss to the Wests Tigers when he made the opposition defence look like they were standing still.
Gala-Mosby claims he can run the 100m in 10.24 seconds, just 0.08 secs outside the Olympic qualification time.
Cowboys five-eighth Michael Morgan described him as “easily” the quickest guy he’d ever seen on an NRL field and said he was excited by his potential.
“The other day someone tried to chase him and he looked like he was going quick and then just took off with three steps and he was gone again,” Morgan said.
“He can just change his speed so quickly and I really am hoping to see him in open space.”
However it appears unlikely he will be able to force his way into the Cowboys squad for round one with coach Paul Green likely to stick with the same 17 which won last year’s grand final.
Last year Gala-Mosby scored 39 tries in the Under-20s – a record for the competition which is unlikely to ever be broken – but there are question marks over whether he can step up so soon.
“He’ll be ready, whether he plays or not is up to the coaching staff,” Morgan said.
“The team we had last year, considering how far we went and won the premiership, you’d think those guys would get first crack but I’m sure when he gets his opportunity he’ll be ready.”