Jake Clifford was earmarked as one of the brightest talents in rugby league heading into the 2018 season after being named NYC Player of the Year in 2017 and the Tully product certainly lived up to the hype.
The 20-year-old was tonight named North Queensland Toyota Cowboys Rookie of the Year on the back of a brilliant six-game stint in the top grade late in the season.
After running riot for Cowboys feeder club the Northern Pride in the Queensland Cup for much of the year, Clifford was called up to make his first-grade debut against St George Illawarra in Round 19.
He partnered retiring legend Johnathan Thurston in all six of his NRL games and provided an immediate spark to the Cowboys attack.
The highlight of his NRL run was undoubtedly his brilliant three try-assist display against Parramatta in Thurston's last match at 1300SMILES Stadium in Round 24.
Clifford was also named Rookie of the Year in the Queensland Cup and was man of the match in the drought-breaking victory for the Queensland Under 20s against NSW at Suncorp Stadium before Origin III.