Competition - NRL Premiership Round. Round - Round 25. Teams - Newcastle Knights v South Sydney Rabbitohs. Date - 28th of August 2016. Venue - Hunter Stadium, Broadmeadow, NSW. Photographer - Paul Barkley.

Debut number: 278

Matches: 2

Positions played: Hooker

Tries: 1

Average metres: 13

Average tackles: 10.5

 

Another local junior that made his debut in 2016, Dylan Phythian was playing pub football two years ago.

Following some strong showings for the Knights’ Under 20s in 2015, he graduated to the reserve grade side this season but was hampered by injuries.

Phythian got his first grade opportunity in the end though, and earned plenty of praise despite coming into the game as a completely unknown quantity.

A fullback by preference, Phythian has also spent time in the halves and proved in 2016 that he can handle the responsibilities at hooker.

Debut

Heading into Old Boys Day in Round 25, Danny Levi was ruled out through injury to give Phythian his chance in first grade.

With the match also being the retiring Jeremy Smith’s final at Hunter Stadium, Phythian’s impressive debut nicely symbolised the transition that the Club underwent in 2016 with a changing of the guard.

While Phythian admitted that he had rarely played at hooker before, he came off the bench in the 55th minute and scored ninety seconds later.

He also made two runs for 18 metres, one offload and ten tackles in 29 minutes.

Best moment

Considering Phythian spent a total of 50 minutes playing first grade this season, his best moment was undoubtedly his try.

The Knights were struggling against a dominant Rabbitohs pack, but as soon as Phythian came on he stuck it to the opposition.

It culminated in a try from dummy-half, as he scooped the ball up metres away from the line to wrestle his way over.

What makes him special?

Phythian is a natural footballer, and his size coupled with his ball playing abilities means he has great utility value.

Not many fullbacks would be able to cut it at hooker as well, but Phythian excelled there in his debut.

Head coach Nathan Brown also identified his sheer competitiveness as a great attribute, and his natural self confidence allows him to back himself against any opponent, as he demonstrated against the Rabbitohs with his solo try.