Feki looking for a breakout year
Sosaia Feki has set his sights on a breakout year at the Sharks after beating out a host of established first-grade rivals to reclaim his wing spot for Round 1 of the 2015 season.
With team lists for all 16 clubs released on Tuesday ahead of the opening round of the NRL Telstra Premiership, Feki was named a starter in an exciting Sharks backline ahead of Valentine Holmes, Sami Sauiluma, Nathan Gardner and young up-and-comer Jacob Gagan.
The exciting young Kiwi will line up on the right wing in Sunday evening's opening round encounter against the Raiders and is now looking to nail down the position – two years on from his NRL debut.
"I hope so," the quietly spoken Feki said.
"This year's a good test for me so hopefully I can hold it [the wing spot] down."
After a strong season last year, averaging 112 metres per game, Feki broke into the Kiwis squad for the end-of-season Four Nations Tournament.
Now after getting a taste of the international game the powerful 101kg winger is hoping to go one better and earn selection in the Kiwis starting team.
"Yeah I'd love to crack it," Feki said.
"I'd love to get a game for the Kiwis. I was named in the squad last year but didn't get a game; it's really tough to get into the starting team."
Feki, 23, is one of many current NRL first-graders who rose to prominence through the under-20s NYC competition, joining the Sharks in 2011 after a successful stint with the Junior Warriors.
"It was really good for me," he said.
"We won the competition two years in a row at the Warriors and that really put me on the front foot."
On the opposite side of the field, and returning straight to the Sharks starting line-up after a successful stint at the Bulldogs, will be Mitch Brown.
The 27-year-old local junior will line up on the left wing and is happy to be back at the club he loves.
"I've always supported the Sharks," Brown said. "I always wanted to come back when I left so yeah it's good to be back.
"I've been a Sharks supporter from as long as I can remember. I was born in Sutherland Hospital, so I'm a Shire boy through and through."
Another returning favourite earning selection in the Sharks starting team for Sunday's encounter is second-rower Jason Bukuya.
"It's really good to be back," said Bukuya, who played his football at the Warriors last year.
Looking ahead to Sunday's season opener Bukuya said his side was "looking fit and ready to go".
"It will be a tough game; Round 1 always is," he said. "Everyone's had a big pre-season and we are out there to perform and show all the hard work that we've put in."