Jacob Saifiti Competition - NRL Premiership Round - Round 02 Teams - South Sydney Rabbitohs V Newcastle Knights Date - 12th of March 2016 Venue - ANZ Stadium, Homebush, Sydney NSW Photographer - Paul Barkley

Rookie Review: Jacob Saifiti

Debut number: 269

Matches: 18

Positions played: Second row

Tries: 2

Average metres: 78.7

Average tackles: 25.9

In any other year Jacob Saifiti would have been a shoo-in for the Rookie of the Year award.

He was only just behind twin brother Daniel in how impressive his debut season was though, and built a strong base for bigger and better things in 2017.

A no-nonsense defender that rarely makes an error, Jacob played predominantly from the bench in 2016 but also had a big impact when he did get a start.

Debut

Jacob was the fifth player to make his debut in the Round 1 match against the Gold Coast Titans, starting from kick off and getting through 67 minutes of work.

From nine runs he made 67 metres, and put in 25 tackles for 96 per cent accuracy.

Best moment

Like his twin brother, Jacob grew in confidence as the season progressed and finished the year a genuine first grader.

Coming off the bench in the Round 24 home match against the Titans when the red and blues were under the pump, Jacob played a massive part in dulling the Titans’ momentum through the middle.

The Knights were trailing 18-0 when the Saifiti twins came on, and for the remaining 61 minutes that Jacob played, the Titans only scored one more try.

Jacob put in 41 tackles without missing a single one, and made 18 hit-ups for 134 metres.  

What makes him special?

A little lighter than his brother, Jacob has the sheer strength and speed to play anywhere in the forward pack.

While he’s only played 80 minutes on three occasions so far, in time Jacob will have the ability to do it week in and week out.

Still only 20-years-old, there is a huge amount of potential in the precocious forward.

We look back over the debut seasons of all of our 2016 rookies. Next is player #270 Cory Denniss.