Player Review 2012 - Mark Nicholls
Friday 26 October 2012 12:12 PM
In a superb debut year in the NRL for the Canberra Raiders, Mark Nicholls took out the Rookie of the Year award at the club’s presentation night and stamped his name as a player of the future.
Nicholls began the year in the NSW Cup and was consistently one of the best performers for Mounties until his outstanding form warranted a call up to first grade.
The Leeton Raiders junior made his debut from the interchange bench in round 17 against the St George Illawarra Dragons and got his first grade career off to a cracking start in the club’s brilliant last minute win over their traditional rivals.
Nicholls played 40 minutes in his debut and looked comfortable mixing it with the likes of Dean Young and Trent Merrin.
The former Junior Kangaroos’ versatility in being able to play in the middle of the field in the front row or on the edges in the back row provides David Furner with a multitude of options off the interchange bench for Canberra.
Nicholls’ influence on the side was so positive that it convinced Furner to leave the 22 year old in his lineup for the remainder of the year and in both of Canberra’s semi final appearances.
In his 12 appearances for the year, Nicholls registered 1 try, 4 tackle breaks, 4 offloads whilst averaging 54.5 metres with the ball and 15.8 forceful tackles.
Part of Nicholls’ strength as a player is that for a player his size, he is able to play long minutes without it affecting the standard of his play. Despite only averaging 31.8 minutes per game Nicholls certainly made his presence felt on the field as the Raiders stormed deep into the semi finals.
As Nicholls progresses in his career his time on the field will significantly increase. The Sports Science / Sports Management student is incredibly fit for his size and with toughness to match. When you throw in his skill with the ball it makes for a highly promising package.
The experience that Nicholls has gained this year will hold him in good stead for 2013 in what is looming as a big year for the young forward. With his body still maturing and with another full pre-season to undergo, Nicholls’ continued development next season is definitely one to watch for Raiders fans.
Tackle Breaks: 4
Average Minutes: 31.8
Average Metres: 54.5
Average Tackles: 15.8