NRL clubs chase Harney

Jake Harney, 17, has fielded calls from the Broncos, Cowboys and Parramatta.
Jake Harney, 17, has fielded calls from the Broncos, Cowboys and Parramatta. Craig Warhurst

A STELLAR debut season in the top grade of Sunshine/Coast Gympie rugby league has NRL clubs knocking on Jake Harney's door.

Since the diminutive fullback was named rookie of the year on the Coast, the 17 year old Gympie Devil has fielded calls from the Broncos, Cowboys and Parramatta.

The clubs are interested in the Gympie State High School student joining their Under-20 squads for the 2012 season.

Harney said he was excited about the prospect of joining with an NRL club next year.

He said if the Broncos wanted him, his preferred option was to go to Brisbane but he would have to wait and see what happened.

Harney may be only small, 170cm tall and 70kg in weight, but he makes up for that with brilliant stepping and amazing off-the-mark pace.

His ability to move laterally while at pace makes him very hard to get hold of.

He was the top try scorer in A grade, scoring 17 tries in only half a season. His grand final effort took his tally to 18 top grade tries.

One individual try he scored against Nambour at Jack Stokes would have to be the try of the season.

Harney picked a lose ball in the Devils' defensive 20 and stepped his way through a host of Nambour defenders.

After crossing the half way line he pinned his ears back and headed toward the right-hand corner.

A cover defender grabbed him just as he was about to cross the try line, but Harney held him off with his left hand and slammed the ball down for a try.

Not bad for a kid still at school.

But Harney's brilliant try score ability may never have been noticed if it wasn't for his move to first grade mid-season.

And he had to be convinced to join the Devils' A grade squad because he wanted to try and help his Under-18s side to a premiership.

A talk with Devils A grade coach John Greensill and mentor Darren Burns convinced the young star to make the move and he never looked back.

Burns said Harney had come off his high school contract with the Broncos this year just happy to play under-18 football with his mates.

Burns then had a chat to Harney and told him playing Under-18s wouldn't do him any favours if he wanted a career in football.

"He needed to be playing in the top grade to be the best footballer he could be," Burns said. "There was no doubt he was up to it.

"He has proven with the amount of tries he scored and the awards he has won."

Burns said it will be a huge jump up for Harney in the Under-20 competition.

"I will be surprised if he plays Under-20 next year. He is probably another 12 months off playing in that competition."

But having said that, Burns said "It wouldn't surprise me if he went down there and became a regular".

Topics:  nrl

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