Although round one is only just in the books, the Rookie of the Year race looks like it may come down to young halves Dylan Brown of the Eels and Adam Keighran of the Warriors.
Both Brown and Keighran were highly touted rookies coming into season 2019 and were both extremely impressive in their teams round one wins.
Along with their great play, both rookies are playing in the most important positions on the field for their teams. This puts the two players under the spotlight and if either continues to shine they will be a no brainer choice for this seasons rookie of the year.
To go along with his try assist and line break assist, Brown’s effort in defence was outstanding. He tallied 22 tackles, and also spent 10 minutes of play covering for Michael Jennings centre position which was left vacant while he sat in the sin bin.
For his great debut, the 18-year old Brown received a haka at the completion of his teams round one win against the Panthers.
Keighran, a former lower grade player with the Bulldogs and Panthers was also outstanding for his Warriors. The 21 year olds move across the ditch in search of first grade action is paying dividends early with a try and six goals on debut along with two line breaks and 17 tackles.
In his post-match interview with Warriors TV Keighran stated he was, “Over the moon,” with his performance. His great start to first grade in round one also ignited comparisons by reporters to former Warrior Shaun Johnson.
Johnson, who now plays for the Sharks, is an elite talent with abilities that most of us can only dream of possessing. If Keighran can have even close to the same impact to that of Shaun Johnson in his time at the Warriors, expect the rookie to become a fan favourite.
At this time, Brown’s performance is much more impressive than Keighran’s. The reason for this is that in the past the Eels have struggled for stability in the halves and also the fact that his team took down the Panthers, a side that is in premiership contention.
Keighran’s Warriors however knocked off the Bulldogs who this season many people expect to fight to stay off the bottom of the ladder.
But as we have seen in the past, any win is a big win for a young player, particularly on debut.
Good results early in the season can spark confidence in players such as Keighran who will now be looking forward to transferring his round one performance over to this weeks game against the Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium.
The same goes for Brown, he will riding a wave of confidence as the Eels will take on the lowly Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon at ANZ Stadium.