Despite the NYC Newcastle Knights being knocked out of the competition in the semi finals, Jaelen Feeney takes plenty of positives out of the successful season.
“It’s always fun and exciting to play finals football,” he told Knights TV at HQ on Thursday.
"It’s the best time of the year to play and it is really when the players and your teammates step up.
“It’s disappointing that we got the two losses in a row, but I thought the boys showed a lot of courage and we always toughed it out to the end."
The top of the table Knights knew they were in for a challenge against a sizable Warriors team, who scraped into the top eight but then stepped it up once in the finals.
“They’re just a very big, strong team with a lot of experience, plus a lot of their players have been playing finals footy for a long time,” Feeney added.
“They know how to play in those big games and they showed they are there for a reason and they are always there at the back end of the season.
“Although it was disappointing losing to the Warriors, we have a lot of young talent that will be there next year, and I’m sure they’ll get the job done.
“It’s a great achievement for the Club and we’re the first Knights team to go to the final and go as far as we did.
“It definitely shows a lot of character from us boys, it’s disappointing the way it ended like it did, but the boys showed a lot of courage and ticker."
The 20-year-old has now graduated from the NYC competition and is set to commence pre-season training with the NRL side in November.
For the Nerang Roosters junior, who spent a stint at the Bulldogs before arriving at the Club, the Knights have always made him feel at home.
“I’ve come here and the boys definitely opened up and let me in," he said.
“It was a very strong, tight-knit group and I think that helped us along the season."
What Feeney will cherish from his time in the Under 20s completion is the chance to play with NRL debutants Sione Mata’utia, Jake Mamo and Joseph Tapine.
“It’s a good competition and unfortunately I have to move on, but that’s the way footy is,” he said.
Although a number of players are moving on from the side, he praised young halves Brock Lamb and Jack Cogger who joined the NYC competition from the Knights' Harold Matthews side.
“They’re little spurts of fire… and are going to be there for plenty of years to come and are both two unreal players,” he said.