Dolphins: Keeley’s ready to play

Published 3:27pm 6 February 2024

Dolphins: Keeley’s ready to play
Words by Kylie Knight

Oryn Keeley will play his first game as a Dolphin in the club’s trial game against affiliate club the Central Queensland Capras at Rockhampton’s Browne Park from 6.10pm on Saturday.

The former Newcastle Knight will use this chance to show the coaches what he’s capable of.

He has been named in the squad for the weekend’s clash which is ahead of the NRL’s Pre-Season Challenge.

Valynce Te Whare and and Tesi Niu will start in the centres, with new Dolphins’ acquisitions Herbie Farnworth and Jake Averillo expected to play in the February 18 trial against the Titans on the Sunshine Coast.

Kurt Donoghoe and Gerome Burns will start in the halves, while Keeley will play in the back row with Mason Teague and Jeremiah Simbiken. See the full team list at the end of this story.

Keeley spoke to the media after a tough cardio and contact session at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium this morning.

The 21-year-old signed with the club in October 2023 for three years. Born at Gosford on the NSW Central Coast, Keeley played his junior football with Northern Lakes Warriors before being signed by the Newcastle Knights.

The 98kg edge forward played with Newcastle’s Harold Matthews Cup and SG Ball Cup side before making his NRL debut last year. In 2022, Keeley captained the New South Wales under-19s Origin team.

With only two NRL games under his belt, one each in 2022 and 2023, he is looking for an opportunity to play more games at the top level this year with the Dolphins.

“That’s my goal … just prepare to be told you’re going to play and that could be anywhere. That could be in round 20, it could be round 8 or round 2. I’ve just got to be ready to play whenever and put my best foot forward,” Keeley says.

Dolphins: Keeley’s ready to play

Ready to learn

And he’s keen to learn from the experienced players he now calls teammates.

“I think Cons (Lemuelu), Euan’s been playing back row, Kenny and Felise … they’ve all got different types of games and I’m just trying to pick little bits out of that and put them into mine,” he explains.

“They’ve been really good, very welcoming. I just want to learn off them every day.”

The young gun, whose body is still developing, says he was shocked to be offered a three-year deal at his age.

“I didn’t even second-guess. I just said I want to go,” he recalls.

“I was a big fan of Wayne and the bunch of boys here. I just knew they were a good group and I wanted to be a part of that.

“He (Wayne) is cool. He doesn’t say much, especially to me. He doesn’t really give too much but when he does say something you just listen. It could be bad or good, and he’s not trying to bring you down. He’s just trying to help you.”

Keeley will face some of the guys he’s been training with, when they pull on a Capras’ jersey this weekend, but he says it will be fun to take them on.

“The plan is what I’ve done at preseason … to do that on the field now – work hard and do all the little jobs right … run good lines, defend well and the main thing is to have fun with the boys I’m playing with. I want to play good for the team,” he says.

Dolphins: Keeley’s ready to play

Dolphins NRL team list V Central Queensland Capras

  1. Trai Fuller
  2. Brenton Baira
  3. Tesi Niu
  4. Valynce Te Whare
  5. Jack Bostock
  6. Kurt Donoghoe
  7. Gerome Burns
  8. Max Bailey
  9. Trey Brown
  10. Cooper Jenkins
  11. Jeremiah Simbiken
  12. Oryn Keeley
  13. Mason Teague
  14. Aaron Moore
  15. Lachlan Hubner
  16. Judah Rimbu
  17. Max Plath
  18. Brent Woolf
  19. Jaron Purcell
  20. Caleb Jackson
  21. Steven Numambo
  22. Aublix Tawha
  23. Manase Kaho

Coach: Nathan Fien


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