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He was a definite highlight of the Sea Eagles season this year and was unlucky not to gain an NRL debut, but it’s clearly a matter of time for Dylan Kelly.

Kelly played all but one game for Manly in 2016 and given it was a side that struggled to be competitive all year, we have not seen the best of this versatile second-rower. One of the best offloaders in the competition, Kelly was key in providing second-phase play to an attack that was better than their final position would indicate. His ball-handling skills even saw him line up at five-eighth when player stocks got low.

Kelly’s name first popped up at the beginning of the year, when he was unable to play in the Auckland Nines due to the Sea Eagles exceeding the squad limit of 18 players. He soon took his place on the Manly bench in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, however, and before long was a mainstay in the starting side. The 23-year-old impressed enough to be named in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Residents side to take on Queensland, and scored a memorable length-of-the-field try in their 30-16 victory.

Returning to club duties, Kelly continued to ply his trade and could be considered unlucky not to have played NRL this season. Also a handy goal kicker, the second-rower has scored 63 of the 11th-placed Sea Eagles’ points, with eight tries and 31 goals. He did not finish the season in the way he would have liked, but will be among the leadership group in what we expect to be a rejuvenated and vastly different side next year.

Witness history this September at the 2016 NSWRL Grand Final Day. On Sunday, 25 September the Intrust Super Premiership NSW decider, along with the Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield Grand Finals, take place at Pirtek Stadium, with tickets just $10 for adults and kids under 12 free. Click here to secure your seat.