You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Graduate: Former Mal Meninga star Jye Gray to debut for Rabbitohs

To Karmichael Hunt, Jye Gray was the type of player every coach would want in their team.

Two years ago, the young gun was one of the stars of the Queensland Rugby League’s junior pathways, lighting up the Mal Meninga Cup with Souths Logan Magpies.

Coached by Hunt, Gray was named the player of the year for the Mal Meninga Cup and won that year’s grand final, scoring two tries in the 38-26 victory.

He was also contracted by the Brisbane Broncos at the time before the South Sydney Rabbitohs came circling, offering the utility – who can play fullback or in the halves – a fulltime offer he couldn’t ignore.

And it’s clear that Hunt’s sentiments still ring true, with Gray to make his NRL debut at the age of 20 for the Rabbitohs this Saturday against the Cronulla Sharks.

“He is a player that every coach wants in your team,” Hunt said.

“He had a real X-factor and was a good teammate but could break the game open with pure athleticism.

“We went undefeated and won the Mal Meninga Cup that year. He had other great players around him but he was consistently in our top three players every week.

“He made the real difference for us.”

Gray in 2022. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Gray in 2022. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

Hailing from the Gold Coast, Gray has been named in the No.1 jersey for South Sydney, replacing suspended fullback Latrell Mitchell.

Hunt said fans can expect a lot of excitement from him.

“His acceleration and speed, it is his x-factor,” Hunt said.

“It’s his ability to read defences and really time pick his moments to attack… he did that on a consistent basis for us.

“He wasn’t overplaying his moments. He was really timely with when he chose to use it and when he used it, it was really hard to defend.

“It was a shame that he had to leave my beloved Broncs but the opportunity to step into a fulltime role and learn from Latrell and Cody (Walker), it’s been really beneficial for him because now he gets his opportunity to make his debut, which is one of his dreams and goals.”

Gray’s debut comes just one week after Ben Te Kura also played his first NRL game.

Hunt has overseen both of them in Queensland Rugby League’s statewide competitions and said Souths Logan was very proud to see players come through their club and go on to bigger opportunities.

And his advice to Gray is the same as it was for Te Kura – “just treat it like any other game of footy.”

“Benny did it really well and no doubt Jye’s going to keep it as simple as possible and take his moments as they come,” Hunt said.

“I’m really looking forward to watching him.

“He hasn’t been in my system the last year but there is no doubt when you coach players like this and they make their debut like this, it makes it a bit extra special to watch.

“It can’t be understated (what this means). We play footy to win but we’re a development level as well and when you have players who have worn your jersey before go on to bigger things, we couldn’t be more proud as a club.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Platinum Partners

View All Partners