18 STARS OF 2018 | Jesse Ramien

To whet the appetite ahead of the 2018 Rugby League season, NSWRL.com.au looks at some of the up-and-coming male and female stars who will hope to represent NSW. Today, we run the eye over a 2017 NRL debutant who is pressing hard for more minutes in the top grade.

 Long touted as an NRL star in the making, Jesse Ramien’s form in the 2017 Holden Cup saw him rewarded with a first-grade debut for the Cronulla Sharks in Round 26 last season.

A strong, bullocking type, Ramien’s speed and strength also saw him selected in the 2017 NSW Under-20s side, a team that went on to defeat the Maroons 30-16 before Origin Game One.

Having had a taste of the NRL last season, the 20-year-old says he is now hungry for more.

“It was an unreal experience, every kid that plays footy all they want to do is to one day play first grade,” Ramien told NSWRL.com.au in December.

“To achieve that childhood dream, it was unbelievable. I was lucky enough to grab a try, it was an afternoon I’ll never forget.

“[Sharks coach Shane Flanagan] doesn’t really care too much about age or experience, if he thinks you’re ready, he’ll give you a crack.

“We’re back into preseason now, hopefully this year I can get a few more games under my belt. That’s the goal.”

A product of the NSWRL Pathways Program, Ramien’s U-20s Blues appearance in 2017 followed his outing for the U-16s side two years prior.

Learning under the guidance of Junior Blues coach and two-time Origin series-winning captain Danny Buderus, Ramien believes he’s gained a greater understanding of what it takes to be a top-flight star.

“’Bedsy’ and Matt King, they taught us heaps, not just about footy and training but also about a lot of the lessons he learned when playing in the NRL and in Origin,” Ramien said.

“They shared with us the ‘spirit’ of the Origin game, the way it’s played… coming from someone like those guys, with what they’ve achieved in the game, it really sunk in. Throw ‘Freddy’ (Fittler) in that mix too, he’s been great in developing my game as well.

“The [Pathways] camps were a big help in getting me to the NRL level. It’s a great environment in there.

“The camps were a big reason in me getting an NRL debut, because of what I learned in my time in sky blue.”

UPDATE: Ramien, who is believed to have signed with the Newcastle Knights for the 2019 season, will first compete with incumbent Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues centre Josh Dugan and former South Sydney winger Aaron Gray in the race to fill the right centre position at the Sharks in 2018 – a role made vacant by Jack Bird’s departure to the Brisbane Broncos.

Originally published on 28 December 2017.