Brenko Lee featured in just a handful of games in his debut year, however he did enough in his brief period in the top grade to leave Raiders fans buzzing with excitement at what is yet to come.
Lee’s immense promise, conveyed through his glittering junior representative career and his form in the NYC last year, resulted in the 18 year old being invited to train with the NRL squad during pre-season by Coach Ricky Stuart.
The Logan Brothers junior had been a standout throughout the junior grades but was faced with a steep learning curve during his first ever NRL pre-season.
To his credit, Lee worked extremely hard over the pre-season and responded to every challenge thrown his way. He got himself into the best shape of his budding career and his speed and endurance times improved as a result.
Stuart was so impressed with Lee’s efforts and natural talent that he re-signed the promising youngster until the end of 2016 halfway through the pre-season.
“I’m really excited about signing a new contract with the Raiders as they brought me down to Canberra and gave me an opportunity to play for the SG Ball and NYC teams,” Lee said after re-signing.
“Hopefully now I can work hard and take the next step into the NRL team as well. It’s great to have my cousin Edrick here at the club as well and it would be a proud moment for our family if I was able to play alongside him one day for the Raiders in the NRL.”
While Brenko is still yet to play alongside Edrick, he was able to break through for his NRL debut in 2014, although it didn’t come as easy as he anticipated.
Lee was impressive in the trials against Melbourne and the Bulldogs with the dynamic attacking centre crossing for a try against the Storm.
Despite his fantastic pre-season and trial, Lee lost out to Matt Allwood for the vacant centre position and began the year in the Raiders NYC side before furthering his development with the Souths Logan Magpies in the Intrust Super Cup.
In April, Lee was selected alongside team mates Anthony Milford, Luke Bateman and Patrick Mago for the Queensland Under 20’s representative side. It was the second successive year that Lee has been chosen at centre in the side.
After working hard on his game in the Intrust Super Cup, a bit of luck came Lee's way.
Following injuries in the Canberra backline, Stuart selected Lee to make his debut against the Bulldogs in Round 15 at GIO Stadium.
Normally a centre, Lee was selected on the wing and had a mixed night, registering four uncharacteristic handling errors coupled with several quality carries.
Due to the high standards that he holds for himself, Lee was bitterly disappointed with his initial performance in the top grade and prayed for an opportunity to make amends the following week against Wests.
Stuart answered Lee’s prayers, retaining him on the wing for the clash with the Tigers.
It was in this fixture that Lee announced himself as one of the brightest young prospects in the game after scoring the Raiders opening two tries, one a spectacular chip and chase effort.
In addition to his two tries, Lee also ran for 127 metres and registered two tackle breaks and one handy offload.
Playing in his preferred position of centre against the Titans a week later, Lee continued his try scoring form posting the first try of the match however he left the field at the 56th minute mark due to a hamstring complaint.
Lee was sidelined for the next two games but made a comeback against the Warriors in Round 21. Alas, Lee re-injured his hamstring, thus ending his season.
Lee’s emergence this year provides Stuart with another quality option in the Green Machine backline for 2015. If Jack Wighton is retained at fullback, another excellent pre-season effort may see Lee partnering Jarrod Croker in the centres next year.
If that is the case, the exciting talent will fulfil one of his dreams in playing alongside cousin Edrick.
Imagine that Raiders fans; Edrick and Brenko on the same edge!
Average Minutes: 74
Try Assists: 0
Try Saves: 1
Line Breaks: 2
Line Break Assists: 0
Tackle Breaks: 7
Average Metres: 89.4
Average Tackles: 6.3
Kick Metres: 3 kicks for 46