|Mullen playing for the Knights in 2009|
|Full name||Jarrod Stephen Mullen|
9 April 1987 |
Singleton, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||178 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||88 kg (13 st 12 lb)|
|2007||New South Wales||1||0||0||0||0|
|As of 8 July 2010|
|Source: Rugby League Project
Jarrod Stephen Mullen (born 9 April 1987) is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who plays for the Newcastle Knights of the National Rugby League (NRL). A New South Wales State of Origin representative half, he has played his entire career with the Knights.
Mullen is a playmaker for the Newcastle Knights. After playing only nine first grade games as halfback and 31 games in total, he was a shock pick at that position for the New South Wales Blues in the 2007 State of Origin series. Most believed that at 20 years of age, the job would go to a more experienced playmaker, but the selectors saw him as a potential long-term prospect. Ultimately, Mullen was dropped after one game, a match in which NSW let slip an 18-6 halftime lead to lose 25-18.
Born in Singleton, NSW, he moved to Newcastle with his family when he was nine. Son of Leeann Mullen and Steve Mullen, a former rugby league player who played for the Canterbury Bulldogs and Western Suburbs Magpies in the 1980s, he was born into the sport and played his first game aged seven for the Taree-Old Bar Lifesavers (now known as Taree Panthers), where it was obvious he had talent. Two years later (after a brief stint playing soccer), Mullen relocated to Newcastle, where he continued his junior career with the Western Suburbs club. His first representative game was for St Therese's Primary School, New Lambton, in the Regional Knights Knockout competition, with the school winning the competition in 1996 and 1997. He played most of his junior football at five-eighth.
Mullen joined the Knights as a junior in 1997 and soon stood out. Representative honours came quickly; he played five-eighth for the NSW under-17s in 2004, catching the eye of Newcastle's champion halfback Andrew Johns.
Coach Michael Hagan saw plenty of promise in Mullen and picked him for the first-grade squad aged 18. His first grade debut was on 15 May 2005 at EnergyAustralia Stadium vs Wests Tigers in Round 10. It soon became apparent he would be groomed as a potential replacement for Johns.
In 2007 Mullen was selected as starting five-eighth for the Knights, with the intention to have him complete a season alongside Johns to gain experience and eventually succeed him as halfback. On 10 April 2007, the day after Mullen turned 20, Johns announced his shock retirement from rugby league due to a neck injury. Mullen became first-choice halfback.
Mullen was rewarded for his consistent performances in 2006. He was selected in his first senior representative team, the Prime Minister's XIII, for a game against Papua New Guinea. He played with a young team in Port Moresby on 30 September, starting on the bench as a utility player. In 2007, he was picked for the New South Wales side above older and more experienced candidates. Mullen was not selected in the NSW State of Origin team for Game 2 due to a torn calf muscle. When Game 3 arrived, selectors chose Brett Kimmorley and Greg Bird over Mullen owing to the club relationship between the two halves. In opening rounds of 2008, Mullen again showed promise but succumbed to a calf injury in Round 4. Outstanding performances on his return against competition leaders Gold Coast and Melbourne thrust him back into Origin contention, jostling for the halfback spot with Brisbane's Peter Wallace, Manly's Matt Orford and Parramatta's Brett Finch.
- "SportingPulse Homepage for Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League". SportingPulse. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- Balym, Todd (2009-05-03). "Blues halfback duel in two as Mitchell Pearce misses selection". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2009-05-03.