Anthony Mullally handed first team contract by Widnes
Widnes have handed academy forward Anthony Mullally a place in the first team squad for their return to Super League - on a new 12-month contract.
The 20-year-old spent the 2011 season down under as part of the club's partnership with Brisbane Broncos, playing for their Under-20s.
"The nine and a half months I spent at the Broncos was rewarding in so many ways," said Mullally.
"I believe that I'm a better player and person for the experience," he added.
"But, as a young lad it was always my aim to play for the Vikings in Super League."
Former Australia international Allan Langer, now an assistant coach with the Broncos, believes that Mullally has returned "a much fitter, faster and hungrier athlete".
"We challenged Anthony to move to the other side of the globe and compete against the best players in the world at his age group," said Widnes director of rugby Paul Cullen, who instigated the Broncos partnership.
"He has shown great maturity and professionalism and we are delighted to offer him the pathway to Super League."
Mulllally made his Widnes debut as a 17-year-old on an historic day for the club, the 88-0 Challenge Cup win over Saddleworth Rangers in March 2009 - the club's biggest-ever victory.
Mullally also had a loan spell more locally in 2010 at Swinton, for whom he scored two tries in six appearances.