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Newcastle Knights celebrate at the Season  Awards on the 8th of September 2016 at Wests, New Lambton NSW Australia. © NRL Photos / Photographer: Paul Barkley

This time last year Nick Meaney was on the way to winning his second first grade premiership with the Ballina Seagulls.

Fast forward 12 months and he’s been named NYC Player of the Year at the Knights Awards evening.

Still only 18-years-old at the time of winning the accolade, Meaney has shown maturity beyond his years to leave his family behind, move down to Newcastle and thrive in the Under 20s system.

“My first season has been a bit of a rollercoaster,” he told Knights TV.

“I came in, didn’t really know any of the boys and was pretty shy.”

Meaney went on to play 23 matches at fullback though, averaging five tackle breaks per game and a big 19 line breaks over the duration of the season.

“I started off the year so-so, and then gained more confidence and started to play pretty good footy there at the end,” he explained.

“We were pretty unlucky to not make the eight, but I was happy with my first year.”

2017 will be Meaney’s final year of eligibility for the Under 20s competition, but he has already set the foundations for a big season.

“I’ve still got another year in the 20s so I’ll be looking forward to finishing that off,” he said.

“Maybe I can get a few games in the higher grades as I get older as well."