Competition - NRL Premiership Round. Round - Round 12. Teams - Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels. Date - 30th of May 2016. Venue - Hunter Stadium, Broadmeadow NSW. Photographer - Paul Barkley.

Rookie Review: Jaelen Feeney

Player number: 264

Matches: 5

Positions played: Fullback, five-eighth, centre

Tries: 0

Average metres: 55.2

Average tackles: 11.8

Jaelen Feeney joined the Knights’ NYC team in 2014 and made a big contribution to the side’s minor premiership.

In 2015 the Queensland Under 20s Origin player went on to star for the Club’s reserve grade side as they took out the title, and was particularly influential in the finals series.

All of this culminated in Feeney earning his first grade debut in Round 1 of 2016, starting at fullback.

He went on to play five games in a variety of positions, his ability with the football in hand making him a good utility anywhere in the spine of the team.  

Debut

Feeney had spent the majority of the pre-season at fullback, but his first grade debut was also the first time he played that position in a competitive match.

It didn’t help that torrential weather hit Cbus Stadium, and Feeney dropped several high kicks.

He only missed one tackle from an attempted eight though, handled the ball 22 times and posted nine runs for one tackle break.

Best moment

It was the Club’s only win of 2016, and Feeney played a big part in the build up to the Knights’ first try.

40 metres out he scooped the ball up from dummy-half and saw enough space behind the ruck to break through.

Following a mazy run he was pulled up just short of the try line, but his quick play-the-ball ensured that Akuila Uate got an easy try on the next play.

What makes him special?

Still only 21-years-old, Feeney has plenty of natural ability.

His running game has been a feature in the lower grades with his raw pace always causing trouble, and there have been flashes of that when he’s stepped up to first grade.

With another first grade pre-season under his belt, the utility back will be fighting for a spot in 2017.

Over the next two weeks we look back over the debut seasons of all of our 2016 rookies. On Wednesday is player #266 Pat Mata'utia.