Cody Walker playing for the South Sydney team in the NRL. Photo Dan Himbrechts.
Cody Walker playing for the South Sydney team in the NRL. Photo Dan Himbrechts.

HIGH FIVE: Northern Rivers’ players in the NRL big time

IT IS finals time in the NRL which provides a good opportunity to reflect on the contribution the Northern Rivers has had to the code. Here are five current NRL players who are from the Northern Rivers.

Cody Walker

The Casino product has remained one of the NRL’s most exciting players since making his debut in 2016. The former Cougar’s tally of 10 tries in 20 appearances and 47 overall try involvements in the interrupted NRL season is one of the key reasons the Rabbitohs are in a preliminary final.

Brian Kelly

Born in Lismore and playing his junior football in Ballina and Lennox, Brian Kelly has been a regular at both Manly and the Gold Coast Titans during his time in the league. After a mid-season drama involving vaccinations, Kelly put together a good second-half of the season and featured in the Titans best on occasion. Shapes as a key part of the Titans push into the finals next season.

Nick Meaney

Another player who did not feature in finals, the former Ballina junior was a constant presence in 2020 after making 16 appearances for the Bulldogs. Being able to play fullback and wing, Meaney provides versatility to the Bulldogs and with a deal that runs until 2021, there is big hope that he can elevate his game further next year.

Bulldogs Nick Meaney scores a try during the Wests Tigers v Bulldogs NRL match at Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta. Picture: Brett Costello
Bulldogs Nick Meaney scores a try during the Wests Tigers v Bulldogs NRL match at Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta. Picture: Brett Costello

Mitch Aubusson

Aubusson might just be the most famous rugby league export from the Northern Rivers after racking up over 300 games for the Sydney Roosters which made the semi finals this season. While the fairy-tale grand final did not eventuate for the former Ballina junior as the Raiders triumphed over Roosters in the semi-final, Aubusson bows out with a career that stacks up with the best of them and as Roosters all-time great.

Roosters' Mitch Aubusson celebrates try during NRL match between the St. George-Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters at Win Stadium, Wollongong. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Roosters' Mitch Aubusson celebrates try during NRL match between the St. George-Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters at Win Stadium, Wollongong. Picture. Phil Hillyard

James Roberts

The Rabbitohs star was ruled out in round 10 of the 2020 NRL season with a pectoral injury but the former Ballina product had cemented himself as a common sight in Rabbitohs colours. With State of Origin experience also to his name, 2021 shapes as an important year for Roberts.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: James Roberts of the Rabbitohs scores a try with Dane Gagai of the Rabbitohs in support during the round nine NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on July 10, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: James Roberts of the Rabbitohs scores a try with Dane Gagai of the Rabbitohs in support during the round nine NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on July 10, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)