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Bulldogs fullback Nick Meaney.

When Nick Meaney signed with Canterbury last June, it barely raised an eyebrow among both Bulldogs supporters and the wider rugby league community.

Everyone was too swept up with the news Aaron Woods and Moses Mbye had gained mid-season releases and were off to new clubs.

The comments came in thick and fast. Who is Nick Meaney? Never heard of him, many argued.

Eight months on and Meaney's name is set to become far more familiar to those at Belmore ahead of the 2019 Telstra Premiership season.

"Yeah, I did get that reaction, and that's OK," Meaney tells

"Coming through the grades you get a bit of attention every now and then. Your name might pop up on social media but you're also usually not heard of, that's just what comes with the job.

"I've never been talked up and have always gone about my game quietly. When it happens it's something you've got to get used to over time."

So, who is this kid, they continue to ask.

Lewis: Our squad is stronger in 2019

The Ballina product moved to Newcastle as a 16-year-old and made his debut for Newcastle in round 18 last season, six weeks after he announced his departure.

By that time both clubs had realised what the former NSW under 20 representative had to offer.

He finished the season with two tries in five appearances as his speed proved his biggest asset.

"When I did play those games it's amazing how much you grow and your name grows when you play first grade," Meaney said.

I think we will shock a lot of people this year, a lot are doubting us

Bulldogs recruit Nick Meaney

"People suddenly recognise you and want your autograph. Those first couple of games were tough but it was a learning curve. The challenge now is to do it consistently."

Meaney describes his exit at the Knights as "bittersweet" after leaving the club in pursuit of greater opportunity. Both Kalyn Ponga and Connor Watson both sat ahead of him on the pecking order.

On paper too, Newcastle seem like a club on the rise. The same opinion is not as widespread when it comes to the Bulldogs.

"I didn't look at it that way, I looked at the players they were bringing in," Meaney said.

"You've got to look at the positives. I think we will shock a lot of people this year, a lot are doubting us especially the year they had last year. That just motivates you more to prove them wrong.

"We were talking with the Knights and I didn't want to leave on bad terms, you just never know what could happen. I could end up back there but I wanted to play fullback and the Bulldogs had the best fit for me."

Making the Belmore move a far easier transition was the fact close mate and former Newcastle halfback Jack Cogger was preparing to do the same.

"When Jack signed with the Bulldogs early, making my decision to transfer from one club to another made it easier when you know someone already," Meaney said.

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