What will Jayden Brailey bring to the nib Newcastle Knights in 2020?
Aside from his ability to play 80 minutes, defensive capabilities and football knowledge, the hooker possesses an incredible work ethic.
“My grandfather played for Balmain Tigers, my dad loved the game and he taught me and my brothers heaps and did so much with us training wise,” Brailey told The Bloke in a Bar podcast.
“I started doing weights at the end of year six and used to get up at 5.30 in the morning to go to the gym with my dad, and I loved doing it, and he knew that’s what I wanted.”
Motivated to succeed, the Aquinas Colts was overlooked in the junior reps until his late teens.
While many would be deterred, the No.9 always believed his time would come.
“I never made any rep sides growing up, until in year 12, I made Australian Schoolboys,” he said.
“I loved playing football and believed in myself that I could push forward with my game and it used to motivate me as well.
“I got to tour France and England for that, which only comes around every four years so I hit the jackpot with that, had some really good players in that team Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbjoveic got picked but he was injured, that did a lot for my confidence as well.
“I won the Player of the Year at the Dally M’s for the 20’s, but I still couldn’t make a rep team (the junior NSW team), it was disheartening but it didn’t faze me too much.”
Aside from his attitude, when Brailey arrives at the Knights for pre-season the youngster will bring plenty to the table.
Despite his age, he has finals experience and plenty of ambition.
Having made his NRL debut for Cronulla in the first Round of the 2017 season following the retirement of Michael Ennis, his taste of finals football has acted as a fast-track in his education of the game.
“I’ve played just under 50 games, those 3 finals games (in 2018), I’ve taken more out of that than the other 43, it’s done so much for me,” he said.
“A finals game is next level, now I’ll be more confidence to take risks in a normal NRL game.
“Defence is a lot tougher, there is not a lot of opportunities.”
One of his goals is to play representative football.
The Knights have developed Daniel Saifiti and Kalyn into Origin players during their time with the Club.
If Brailey has it his way, he’ll one day join the list of Origin players.
“I really want to play for the Blues one day, it will be really hard to crack into that, but I’m only 22 so I have plenty of time up my sleeve,” he said.