He was the star of the show in the 2016 Intrust Super Cup and Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles five-eighth Cameron Cullen has kicked off the 2017 season in much the same fashion.
Cullen, who caught the attention of many as he steered the Burleigh Bears to the title in the QRL’s premier competition, was snapped up by the Manly Sea Eagles last year with a view to potentially partner Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves at NRL level. Hopes of that situation arising were diminished when experienced half Blake Green was signed to the club, but Cullen has so far done all he can to ensure he’s next in line.
Blacktown, which fielded a team in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW for the first time on Sunday, were impressive against Round 1 opponents Newtown – due in no small part to Cullen’s influence. The no.6 was prominent at HE Laybutt Fields, setting up two of the hosts’ tries, scoring the other and while his side was narrowly beaten by the Jets, Cullen was recognised with a selection in the Round 1 Team of the Week. The 23-year-old, however, was more focused on the team’s performance.
“It was a pretty tough game and in Round 1 we’re all sort of getting a feel for each other’s games,” Cullen tells NSWRL.com.au. “I thought we were pretty good. Structurally we had a pretty good game, we just had a few errors there that cost us.
“I thought we gelled pretty well,” Cullen adds. “We’ve had one trial game against Wyong that we won pretty convincingly and I thought we looked pretty good here again.
“We’ve got the footy in us to win; we’ve just got to be better defensively.”
Having captained the Queensland Residents before earning Man-of-the-Match honours in the 2016 Intrust Super Cup Grand Final, Cullen shapes as one of the most exciting signings to the Intrust Super Premiership NSW this season. The Tweed Coast Raiders junior is confident, however, that his time in the NRL spotlight will come with patience.
“I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, be consistent and just keep putting in effort,” Cullen says. “I’ve got to make sure every time I come back to Blacktown I’m playing some really good footy and just show that I want to be there.
“I’ve just got to wait until I get the call-up and then take it with both hands.”
Those hands caused all of Blacktown’s tries on Sunday and will surely have the chance to impress in the top grade this season; should he remain in the state competition, however, Cullen’s next task will be a Saturday afternoon meeting with the North Sydney Bears.