He was one of the most talked about signings in the 2016 off-season and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs fullback Brad Abbey showed just what he can do for his new club.
At just 19 years of age, the former Warrior was already being touted for a first grade debut at the start of the season.
With a long-term injury to Brett Morris opening up a backline position at the Bulldogs, Abbey pushed his case with a solid weekend at the Auckland Nines, but was overlooked for fellow newcomer Kerrod Holland.
The Pakuranga junior had showed his class in attack with a scintillating Holden Cup career, but with areas of improvement in defence it was decided to give him time to adjust in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
Abbey has been key to the Bulldogs’ attack, however, and in May was selected for the Junior Kiwis as a reward for his efforts.
Abbey hadn’t missed a game for the Bulldogs in the regular season, playing 20 of his 22 games at the back.
With a solid support game and blistering speed, he scored eight tries in this time, also proving his worth with the boot with 30 goals.
It wasn’t an ideal finish to the year for the youngster, however, who was ruled out of the side’s only finals game with a knee injury.
Abbey didn’t deserve to miss the side’s golden point loss to Wyong, but will look to come back bigger and better next year.
It is still likely a matter of when, not if, Abbey earns an NRL debut.