ACT Comets product Matt Gilkes earns Cricket NSW rookie deal

Matt Gilkes. Remember the name - he is the newest Comet amongst the stars.

The ACT export has earned a rookie contract with the NSW Blues as they set their sights on a return to the summit of the domestic scene.

Cricket ACT product Matthew Gilkes has picked up a rookie contract with NSW following an impressive summer for the Comets and Sydney Thunder.

Cricket ACT product Matthew Gilkes has picked up a rookie contract with NSW following an impressive summer for the Comets and Sydney Thunder.

Gilkes' rookie deal caps off a solid day for Canberra products on the contract front with Tom Rogers (full contract) and Mac Wright (rookie) retaining their places in Tasmania.

The former Western District-UC gloveman's inclusion in the squad comes after he posted 508 runs at an average of 46 for the ACT/NSW Country Comets in the Futures League last season.

Gilkes shifted to the University of NSW to ply his trade in premier cricket two seasons ago and the move has worked wonders for his cricket ambitions.

His elevation to the NSW rookie list comes after Gilkes made his BBL debut for the Sydney Thunder last summer - a dream that so nearly turned into a nightmare when he dropped Shaun Marsh in the opening over.

But the 19-year-old soon showed enough to suggest he can crack it at the top level by posting a blistering half-century later that night.

Matthew Gilkes made amends for a dropped catch with a half-century on BBL debut for the Thunder.

Matthew Gilkes made amends for a dropped catch with a half-century on BBL debut for the Thunder.

Gilkes and 18-year-old batsman Ollie Davis are the two new rookies included in the 32-player list to be captained by former Test wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.

Cricket NSW high performance general manager David Moore has lauded the rookie duo as "very, very exciting prospects for NSW and Australian cricket".

Returning batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner are among six Blues contracted with Cricket Australia, including another Wests export in off-spinner Nathan Lyon and fast bowling trio Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood.

Gilkes will likely suit up for the Comets again in the Futures League as he presses his claim for a first class call-up - one that doesn't seem beyond the realms of possibility in a set-up granting opportunity.

Look no further than the likes of Jack Edwards, Jason Sangha, Nick Bertus and rookie Baxter Holt for proof - all made first class debuts last summer.

"When you try to develop players, you want to give them an opportunity to do well," NSW coach Phil Jaques said.

"We obviously want to reward performance as well which we've done with the changes that we've made. The long-term development of the core group of young guys is still very, very important, as is the leadership that the [senior players] have shown over the last 12 months."

Former Comets captain Jay Lenton has been delisted alongside Charlie Stobo, Henry Thornton, Arjun Nair, Chris Green, and Jordan Gauci.

2019-20 NSW Blues squad: Peter Nevill (c), Sean Abbott, Nick Bertus, Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Daniel Fallins, Ryan Gibson, Liam Hatcher, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Stephen OKeefe, Kurtis Patterson, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Param Uppal, Greg West

CA contracts: Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner

Rookies: Ryan Hackney, Ryan Hadley, Baxter Holt, Oliver Davies, Matt Gilkes, Chad Sammut