2014 Season Review: Jeremy Hawkins
After being one of Mounties most dynamic players all year in the VB NSW Cup, Jeremy Hawkins was rewarded with his NRL debut in Round 24 and his promising performances ensured that he kept his position for the remainder of the season. As it stands, the exciting prospect is impressively yet to taste defeat in his first grade career.
Hawkins earned a reputation as a powerful ball runner and a prolific try scorer in the National Youth Competition and his enormous potential was illustrated by the club signing him until the end of the 2015 season when he graduated from the Under 20’s in 2013.
Due to the vast step up in class of jumping from the NYC to the NRL, coupled with the depth of Canberra’s outside backs, Hawkins began the year with Mounties.
This was the first time in his career that Hawkins had played against grown men on a consistent basis and the experience did him a world of good.
Hawkins alternated between centre and wing throughout the year and regularly proved to be a dangerous threat out wide for Mounties, crossing for a host of tries as well as demonstrating an ability to safely defuse kicks and effectively mark up on his opposite number defensively.
The former Junior Kiwi’s form was so impressive for Mounties that he earned a nomination as one of the centres of the year in the VB NSW Cup by NSWRL.com.au.
Hawkins’ irrepressible form out wide for Mounties also caught the eye of the Raiders NRL coaches.
Unfortunately though, second tier salary cap restrictions prevented Hawkins from making his debut earlier.
It was not until late in the year when the Raiders injury toll had become so horrific in the outside backs department that the NRL granted the club special dispensation to blood the promising youngster.
Hawkins was selected to make his debut by Coach Ricky Stuart for the Round 24 clash against the Cronulla Sharks at Remondis Stadium. Although he was named in the centres, it was effectively a ploy, with Hawkins playing wing and Edrick Lee playing in the centres.
The 21 year old was solid in his debut and played his role in the 22-12 victory over the Sharks.
His performance ensured that he would keep his place in the side for the next two fixtures, both of which were won by the Raiders.
It was in the final match of the year against the Parramatta Eels that Hawkins posted the first try of his budding NRL career. Hawkins scored just five minutes into the clash after some swift hands in the backline provided enough room for the powerful winger to cross in the left hand corner. Hawkins' try drew much delight from the Canberra faithful.
Hawkins’ performances in the final three games of the year, all won by the Raiders, gives Stuart another viable option in the backline next year and fans another exciting prospect to watch develop into the future.
With the likes of Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, Edrick Lee, Brenko Lee, Jordan Rapana and Bill Tupou all pushing for outside backs positions next year, Hawkins will need to undergo an arduous pre-season to ensure that he is right in contention for selection for Round 1 2015.
Average Minutes: 80
Try Assists: 0
Line Breaks: 1
Line Break Assists: 0
Tackle Breaks: 5
Average Metres: 72.2
Average Tackles: 11.3