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18 STARS OF 2018 | Nick Meaney

Starring time and time again for the club’s Intrust Super Premiership NSW outfit in their run to the competition’s semi-finals last season, it seems a matter of when – not if – Nick Meaney will make his NRL debut for the Newcastle Knights in 2018.

A member of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Residents squad to travel to Queensland in May, Meaney’s talent was twice rewarded in the representative arena, as he earned a NSW Under-20s start just two weeks later.

“An NRL debut would be a massive achievement for myself,” Meaney told Knights TV last month.

“While that’s a big goal, I also need to focus on getting back to [the Intrust Super Premiership NSW], doing better there and hopefully obtaining my position back at fullback.

“Maybe as the year goes on, I could get bumped up into the first-grade team, but we’ll see what happens.”

A player with undoubted potential, Meaney knows he may have to bide his time in the Hunter, following Kaylyn Ponga’s arrival to the club from the North Queensland Cowboys.

A pure, versatile athlete with the makings of a long-term NRL prospect, the 20-year-old star hasn’t ruled out a backline shift in the hopes to kick-start his time in the top grade.

“Growing up I was used to playing in different positions and getting a feel for what kind of job you’ve got to do,” Meaney said.

“I would be happy enough to play in the centre or the wing, anywhere really, although fullback is a preference of mine because I like the amount of workload you have to do.

“That just makes me a better player with all the competition, and at training we are competing against each other for spots.

“Kalyn Ponga is a great player and that’s only going to make me even better myself.”