After a second NRL pre-season at the Newcastle Knights, Jaelen Feeney has captured the attention of coach Nathan Brown.
So much so, it’s earned him his first grade debut in the Round 1 match against the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.
Having played in last year’s NSW Cup grand final, Feeney already has plenty of pride in the red and blue jersey.
But the 22-year-old anticipates the opportunity to accomplish his NRL debut at the Club will take that feeling to another level this weekend.
Feeney described the moment he learned he was to take the field in top grade and said he felt light-headed at the prospect of reaching his life-long dream.
“When Browny let us know, it was straight to the point and no fuss about it. I had to double check with the boys if he said my name,” he told Knights TV.
“I knew that I’d have to wait my time, keep building and having in strong pre-seasons and training sessions, to get my shot.
“I was close last year, but everything happens for a reason and it has worked out the way that I get to debut in my hometown.
“Everything has worked out like a dream and I am very excited.
“I’m finally accomplishing a lifetime goal.”
He believes it was his work ethic at training that proved to Brown he’s ready to take the step up to first grade.
“Browny is a big believer in training hard and that relays into playing,” he said.
"I guess he’s noticed that I like to train and enjoy training and being around the boys.
“It is a new challenge for me and I have to learn week to week.”
Feeney will make club history alongside four of his teammates, Pat Mata’utia, Jacob and Daniel Saifiti and David Bhana who will all share their debut experience in the Round 1 match.
“It makes it even better that I get to debut with four other boys who have worked so hard during the pre-season as well and who are now being rewarded,” he said.
“It will just be so surreal and it hasn’t kicked in. I get goose bumps every time I think about it, it’s just ridiculous.”