Friday, March 15, 2024

When Jaelen Feeney arrived for his seventh Mendi Blackhawks pre-season he was carrying a pair of boots in one hand and his five week old baby boy in the other. Fast forward a few months and the 29 year-old feels re-born. Following consecutive frustrating campaigns, the former Newcastle Knight is determined to lead Townsville’s charge back to the finals.

“Definitely, I want to start every game. It’s good to be able to train hard in the pre-season put some combinations together with your teammates and then actually go out there and then play with that team. I think that creates a good culture.”

Feeney fell down the pecking order last year making just 9 appearances, only a handful of which were in the run on side.

“The Cowboys situation was definitely tough, but you’ve just got to cop it on the chin and take it. You’ve got to have a good mentality which is something I pride myself on regardless of what happens on the weekend. Training is a bit of an outlet for me, I just come here enjoy my time, rip in and if I get picked I get picked.”

Overcoming adversity has become second nature to him throughout his Hostplus Cup career. Long roads to recovery from horrendous injuries, including an ACL rupture, dislocated elbow and most recently a broken leg in 2022, has him feeling closer to forty than thirty. But prospering on the field from conquering setbacks, is the euphoric feeling which drives the ultra-competitive club stalwart to continue donning the jersey. And the playmaker’s primed for a strong 2024.

“Still got a few niggling injuries, just being old, but Lee Paterson and Stricko and the strength and conditioning staff has us super fit, ready for tough footy, so hopefully the body holds up.”

Feeney’s first round standout showing against the Jets in Ipswich put the exclamation mark on an impressive outing from the visitors. The five-eighth set up a pair of tries and scored two himself; however he knows players performing regularly as individuals and together to create a team consistency, is what will have the Mendi Blackhawks battling for the premiership once again.