Bulldogs' Meaney accepts NRL sliding doors

Scott Bailey
Nick Meaney (r) and Kalyn Ponga shared the fullback duties at Newcastle in last year's NRL

Canterbury fullback hopeful Nick Meaney has no regrets about leaving Newcastle for the Bulldogs but you couldn't blame him if he did.

With five first-grade games to his name, Meaney's arrival at Canterbury is a prime example of the sliding doors nature of the NRL.

When the 21-year-old signed with the Bulldogs for 2019 last June, Kalyn Ponga was the Knights' long-term fullback option and Canterbury were losing their No.1 Moses Mbye to Wests Tigers.

Fast forward eight months and Ponga is now a five-eighth and Meaney is in a battle with Will Hopoate for Canterbury's spot at the back after the latter impressed at the end of last year.

"It was a little bit (tricky), especially when they officially come out a few months ago saying he (Ponga) is going to play five-eighth," Meaney said when quizzed over any regrets.

"But I can't control that, I'm not going to dwell on that forever. I've come here to play first grade and do a job.

"I didn't want to come here knowing I have got this position given to me.

"And (coach) Dean (Pay) has made that clear, I think you need a bit of competition with whatever you do in life."

How the Bulldogs use their backline options is likely to be settled in their only trial, against Canberra.

Hopoate has trained at fullback and in the centres - where he played for the first half of 2018 and where the Bulldogs are desperately lacking experience.

Meaney has his own case to push at fullback, after he scored two tries, had two assists and 13 tackle busts in his limited minutes for the Knights at the end of last season.

He's also added size for the move to Canterbury and has benefited from training with an experienced fullback in Hopoate - something previously not at his disposal in Newcastle.

"Having Hoppa here really helps me become a better player," Meaney said.

"I just watch little thing he does at the back and the way he moves.

"I try and take that into my game and get better off that."