South Sydney has Adam Doueihi firmly in their future plans, rewarding him with a contract extension until 2021 off the back of his rapid rise into first grade.
It’s been an irregular rise at that, playing in last year’s Rugby League World Cup for Lebanon before most Rabbitohs fans even knew his name. He’s now a household name within the surrounding suburbs of Redfern after making his debut in Round 2.
Doueihi replaced an injured Adam Reynolds at halfback against the Panthers but kept his spot in the 17 when he returned, acting as a utility given his ability to play in the halves or anywhere in the backline. He dropped back to North Sydney yesterday to get some more minutes under his belt, which will no doubt help his future shine bright in red and green.
“I was over the moon when I found out that I was going to get the chance to represent the club that I love in the Rabbitohs,” Doueihi says to NSWRL.com.au of his NRL debut.
“I’m thankful to ‘Seibs’ [Anthony Seibold] and the coaching staff for giving me the chance so early in my career.
“Now I’m back to the Bears and trying to put my best foot forward here.”
Doueihi has only played five games in first grade, but has already experienced the highs and lows of the Rugby League roller coaster for the world to see.
Given the goal-kicking duties in Reynolds’ absence, he missed a conversion attempt 18 metres from the sideline that would have locked the scores up at 16-all in the final five minutes on Good Friday against the Bulldogs. The next week against the Dragons, he was given an important and much more difficult kick from the sideline to reduce the deficit from six to four, and he slotted it like a seasoned professional.
That shows he is dramatically improving with the NRL pressure on a week-to-week basis, which is imperative for any 19-year-old playing first grade.
“I got on late [against the Dragons] after sitting on the bench for most of the game,” Doueihi says.
“Gagai took the first kick and he gave it to me for the second, it’s lucky it went over I guess.
“Both ‘Reyno’ [Adam Reynolds] and Cody Walker have been giving me a lot of tips each week, I’m just going to milk them for as much information as possible.”
Brad Fittler tells the story that Doueihi got his international debut by accident after a player got injured in the warm-up, and as 18th man, he got the late call-up.
He handled the occasion well, scoring a try in Lebanon’s 29-18 victory over France, and went on to play another three games for his country.
“That was crazy getting the experience in the world cup with the boys like Farah and Mitch Moses,” Doueihi says.
“He’s a character Freddy, he’s a bit different to a lot of other coaches he likes his different techniques his breathing techniques and mental side of stuff but he knows his footy inside out.
“He’s a champion of the game and I learned a lot from him.”
It wouldn’t be the last time Doueihi and Farah link up, playing together yesterday for the Bears in their narrow defeat to Mounties.
Like the Rabbitohs, the Bears are a proud club with a rich history, making it an honour for Doueihi to don the red and black.
“It’s good the Bears, last year I got my first taste of it halfway through the year which was good for me.
“It was a big step up from under-20s last year I found, but I settled into it by the end of the year.”