Ballina kid is Bulldogs bound
A CHANCE to break into the National Rugby League at fullback helped convince Ballina junior Nick Meaney to sign a three-year deal with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
He will join the Bulldogs next season and hopes to fill the fullback position vacated by Moses Mbye who was released to ease salary cap pressure on the club.
Meaney is currently playing in the New South Wales Cup with Newcastle and is stuck behind superstar rookie Kalyn Ponga who has just been selected for Queensland in State of Origin.
The dedicated 20-year-old has not given up hope of making his NRL debut at Newcastle before moving on at the end of the season.
"I can only control what I do on the field but it's a long season and an opportunity might pop up at some point,” Meaney said.
"I set a goal to play first grade at Newcastle and I've still got a few months to achieve that.
"It will be exciting to make a fresh start next year and I think I'm ready for whatever comes my way.
"I have mates and family in Sydney and you work really hard to get these opportunities. Fingers crossed, the rewards will come.
"Jack Cogger is coming (from Newcastle) as well and it will probably be a chance for a few young guys to get a crack.”
Meaney has done all the right things on and off the field since moving to Newcastle and has represented the NSW Residents and under-20s team.
He was the Newcastle Under-20s Player of the Year in 2016 and backed it up as the Knights NSW Cup Player of the Year the following season.
He played first grade as a 16-year-old at Ballina and is the grandson of Denis Meaney who played for Manly and Western Suburbs.
Meaney won a first grade grand final at Ballina in 2015 and quickly became a sensation in the National Youth Competition when he moved to Newcastle the following year.
"Coming from Ballina it is a completely different environment when you get here,” Meaney said.
"It's definitely an eye-opener and there are lots of guys competing for positions so it's always a challenge.”