Darren Nicholls to become oldest NRL rookie ever

Darren Nicholls will become the oldest ever NRL rookie on Thursday when he makes his debut for St George Illawarra Dragons, aged 29.

The Dragons half-back will fill in for Ben Hunt, who is on State of Origin duty with Queensland, on Thursday when they face Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park.

Nicholls, who has previously played in the lower grades for Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Brisbane Broncos, will be 29 years and 80 days old in his debut on Thursday.

On his debut, Nicholls said: “It’s been a journey for me.

“I played in the Under-20s at the Tigers and had one year of reserves at the Tigers, then spent two years over in France, playing there, and have been in the Broncos system, at the Panthers and also Souths, then here [at the Dragons].

“I have done a few opposed sessions and been in with Gareth [Widdop] in the halves trying to work on that combination.”

The closest Nicholls has come to playing elite level rugby league was for the Dragons in pre-season when he partnered England star Gareth Widdop in the halves in their friendly against Hull FC.

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