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[h=1]A surprise visit from a Dragon[/h] [h=2]By Stan Gorton[/h]Jan. 9, 2013, 10:12 a.m.

[*] DRAGONS’ LAIR: St George Illawarra Dragons legend Michael Weyman with Bill Turnbull at his brag corner at his Narooma home.

ULTIMATE Dragons fan Bill Turnbull of Narooma is feeling a little better after a surprise visit from rugby league legend Michael Weyman.

Mr Weyman originally hails from Moruya and on December 28 he paid an impromptu surprise visit to Mr Turnbull’s home in North Narooma.
“It was a surprise visit to which I had no prior knowledge,” he said.
“Michael had heard that I was a passionate Dragons fan and had recently been through a number of operations and was currently being treated for a serious illness.
“I was taken completely by surprise and to say it made my day is an understatement. “You certainly chirped me up. You are a great bloke and a great ambassador for the game. Go the Dragons in 2013.”
The two hung out at his St George Illawarra brag corner in his lounge room filled with memorabilia collected over the years.
Mr Turnbull likes to tell the story of how he and fellow Dragons supporter Jason Hextell had a bit of laugh and a giggle about a signed Dragons jersey given away from a local liquor outlet in a competition.
“The bloke who won it, sold it to Jason and I told this fellow I would have paid him more,” he said.
“Anyway Jason and I had a good old laugh about it and then unbeknown to me, my wife had arranged for another jersey, signed by the Dragons team for my birthday last year. So it was a win-win situation.”
He also has a good story about another Dragons jersey signed by Graham Langlands, who he describes as absolutely and arguably the greatest St George Legend of all time.
“When my youngest daughter was about eight years old, she attended a session at a rugby league clinic, which was visiting the town we lived in.
“I had recently purchased a brand new Dragons jersey and informed my daughter if any St George Illawarra players were present, to get them to sign the jersey.
“When she returned home from school, I eagerly asked her whether she had the jersey signed by any players and she said she had. I said who signed it and she said ‘Oh some old bloke by the name Graham’.
“I said ‘There's no one by the name of Graham in the St George side’.”
“Well with much anxiety and anticipation I watched my daughter slowly unpack her school backpack, removing card board peak caps with Raiders signatures, napkins and scrap pieces of paper with Raiders signatures.

“Running low on patience, I urged her to show me the St George jersey. Stuffed in the bottom of her backpack, was a crumpled and creased jersey.
“She removed the jersey and passed it to me. As I shook it out and raised it in front of myself, I saw the autograph of Graham Langlands across the front of the jersey.
“Well my daughter was treated like royalty for days after. The jersey is now proudly on display in a frame on the wall.” 


This is lovely stuff and should get more press/media. It won't of course as its good news. 


journo stan Gorton???? Hmmm I seem to recall a very good Dragons winger named Stanley Gorton. 


If that is a Red V tat on Weyman's arm, I can't see him going to the Knights as some people have predicted. 


It's a premiership tattoo. Jeremy Smith had a Melbourne one if I remember correctly, and I wouldn't be surprised if he got a Dragons tattoo, and he still left.

Boyd has both Broncos and Dragons premiership tattoos. 


St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Bronson Harrison has put his name into the hat for a spot in the second-row in 2013.

The New Zealand international, who joined the Red-and-Whites during the off-season, is intent on cementing a starting spot in the back-row but knows he faces healthy competition within the squad. 


I see one hungry player ready to redeem his stagnant career. Go Bronson. 


I'll have to support NZ this year ... :) 


Rein: Being Targeted Is No Concern

Thursday 17 January 2013 6:00 AM

St George Illawarra Dragons hooker Mitch Rein isn’t worried about being a target for opposing teams after his breakout season in 2012.

Rein featured in all 24 of the Dragons NRL games last season, scoring seven tries and solidifying his ownership of the raking position.
The Kiama junior has been enjoying a tough preseason with plenty of tough competition from all the new faces that have recently joined the club for the 2013 campaign.
“I had a pretty good year last year but I’m not really worried about being marked by the opposition,” said Rein.
“If I’m playing my best footy and playing with confidence then everything will be fine, being targeted is just a bit more motivation for me to work harder.
“The preseason’s been going really good, it’s up there with one of the hardest I’ve ever done.
“There are a lot of new faces and young guys coming through so that’s been really good having everyone push each other for open spots on the team.”
The hooker, who has been selected into the three-day NSW Origin “Blues In Waiting” camp which meets this weekend, is looking forward to playing with a possible new halves combination in Jamie Soward and Nathan Fien following Ben Hornby’s retirement at the end of last season.
Rein has also been taking on more of a mentoring role this offseason for some of the younger players who have just joined the team.
“I’m really looking forward to playing with Jamie and Nathan Fien, they’re both really experienced with Fiensy having won a World Cup with New Zealand and both playing Origin footy so that’s a good thing heading into the season.
“We all played together in a few games towards the end of last season and put in some really good performances so I’m excited to get into it.
“When I first came into First Grade it was a pretty nerve racking experience and playing in a position like hooker you have to tell a lot of older and more experienced players what to do.
“It’s a pretty hard thing to handle but I’m sure some of the younger guys will get a lot out of this season and hopefully I can help them along a bit.” 


We should wrap him up. I know the story is talking something else but I reckon a few Clubs would like a player like Mitch. 


will we be forced to decide between King and Rein though?

when is King off contract?

or will we see a Rein/King rotation?

i can see King being poached by another club still 


We might need to make a choice but I'd expect Rein to re-sign. If another club makes a ridiculous offer then we still have players like King, Cook and Garvey. King off contract 2014, btw. 


Rein spoke highly of Cook. Who knows what will happen. 


Cook: A Golden Opportunity

Saturday 19 January 2013 9:00 AM

St George Illawarra Dragons hooker Damien Cook is enjoying a new challenge after making the step up from the Illawarra Cutters to first grade this preseason.
Cook has had to adjust to a rigorous training schedule with the Dragons, and a heavy physical and mental investment far greater than what he is used to.

The Helensburgh junior believes he can bring a different dynamic to the hooker position because he plays a different style to Cam King and incumbent stater Mitch Rein, as well as adding depth through his versatility on the field.
Cook believes that the Illawarra Cutters is becoming a successful stepping stone for players looking to break into the NRL.
“Obviously I’m really excited, this is my first preseason and I’ve learnt a lot; it’s been tough but I’ve enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the start of the season,” said Cook.
“Last year I was with the Cutters so I was only training three days a week, this year it’s six days a week full time so it’s a big difference.
“I’m a bit tired both mentally and physically but we do get break days which always helps a lot.
“I’d love to get an opportunity to play at some point this season whenever it is, I feel like I can step up to the task.
“I think I can offer something a little different, I play a different style to both Cameron King and Mitch Rein so hopefully I get my opportunity to show that.
“I’ve played a lot of different positions, last year I trained mostly at hooker but played a lot on the wing and I’ve also played some fullback as well.
“I’m pretty comfortable playing almost anywhere on the field so hopefully I get that opportunity.
“I think the Cutters was a great opportunity for me to show what I can do and my aim was to get a preseason training run with an NRL side, so the Cutters provided that for me.
“Both myself and Shannon Wakeman have made the step up to the Dragons first grade side this year and I think that shows how good the Cutters is as a stepping stone.

click the link below for the interview. 


Agree he seems a good lad. We also have King and Rein. We may have to have a team of these smaller guys - who play 80 minutes and never stop running. 


[h=1]Ryan: Learning Composure & Mental Toughness[/h]

Sunday 20 January 2013 9:00 AM

St George Illawarra Dragons five-eighth Todd Ryan is seeing the value in his opportunity to train with the first grade side this pre-season as he hopes to add new dimensions to his game.
Ryan was a member of the Dragons National Youth Competition team last season that had a successful campaign in 2012, as well as the Newtown Jets. Want To See The Dragons In Action? Charity Shield Ticket Pre-Sale Sales Are Now Underway!
The Milton junior is hoping to continue that success with the Illawarra Cutters this season with an eye to breaking into the Dragons first grade side.
Ryan has noticed a significant upgrade in training intensity with the first grade side this preseason and believes that having some fellow youngsters in the team has helped his confidence.
“I think it’s amazing that I’ve been given the opportunity to make the step up, I had a pretty good year last year and to be able to learn of guys like Nathan Fien and Jamie Soward will be very beneficial for my career going forward,” said Ryan.
“I’ve been learning a lot about composure and mental toughness and I think those two guys have really helped me a lot with understanding more of the mental side of the game.
“Playing for the Cutters has been a great pathway for me and I’ve learnt a lot working my way through the different grades so I hope I can turn that into a first grade career in the future.
“Hopefully I can have a consistent year for the Cutters again and maybe try to work my way into the first grade side and I also want to keep learning as much as I can.
“The training is really good, everyone has a high mentality and the effort is always there.
“I think having some of the younger guys come up to train this preseason with me as well has helped to give me a lot of confidence moving forward into training and it’s been very beneficial.” 


That's a very textbook response.

It would be great if we could hear the questions. 


Dragons coach Steve Price confirms Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien will sta [HR][/HR] St George Illawarra coach Steve Price will give veteran halves Jamie Soward and Nathan Fien the first crack at cementing a partnership for 2013, while new recruit Gerard Beale will start at fullback.
The Dragons' attack was among the NRL's worst in 2012 and it will largely be up to these three to turn things around for the under-pressure club.
The retirement of skipper Ben Hornby at the end of the 2012 season has left a huge hole for the Dragons to fill and although they have talented rookie Josh Drinkwater on their books Price has opted to leave it to two established players to lead his side's attack.
That may have given Kyle Stanley the opportunity to stamp his mark on the NRL in 2013 but another heartbreaking knee injury stopped his campaign before it began after a pre-season mishap.
"Jamie and Nathan will get first crack," Price tells NRL Summertime in an interview to go to air during Thursday night's episode.
"We've got the young kid we signed from Manly, Josh Drinkwater, and he's certainly putting a lot of pressure on those two guys.
"I'm very happy with how Josh is carrying himself at training, he's got a very sound kicking game and he plays direct and he goes to the line, so Jamie and Nathan will get first crack and they've got some heat under them."
Click on the video at the top for more insight into how Price will set his team up in 2013 and tune in to Fox Sports 1HD for NRL Summertime at 7pm (EDT) Thursday to see the interview in full.
Stanley's injury has also opened the way for Beale to stake a claim on the number one jersey virtually unchallenged, allowing Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale to focus on their preferred positions of wing.
"Beale has done some really good things at the back there," Price said.
"He's doing all that's asked og him at the moment at training - he's got a lot more skill than I actually anticipated, and he's got a fairly sound kicking game too.
"The guys we threw in their last year - I though Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale handled themselves really well under the circumstances and given such short notice, so it's really promising that we get a fullback that actually gives us that extra half at the back."

Read more: 


St George Illawarra Dragons prop Mick Weyman takes his turn on PlayerCam to fill fans in on his karaoke skills, where he'd travel to in time, and what he was like as a teenager.
Weyman is returning from a season-ending knee injury sustained in round ten, 2012: click through for an update on Mick's recovery as he prepares to return to the field. 


PERHAPS Generation Y does want everything at once. In his first month Gerard Beale has had to deal with living in a new state, playing for a new club and the birth of his first child.

Despite the distractions, the former Brisbane Broncos utility said he was on track to set a personal best 40m sprint time after shedding bulk during the off-season. 


He is doing all required to give us a fullback that he is wanting to be.

Will be interesting to see how he gels. I feel a connection occurring with Nightingale. Would be nice to see a double sided play. I think we depend Morris too much. 


I'd be happy if we see a return to the old sweep around the halves and out to the side. It was a simple move - but effective. Darbs was good at it and although they knew it was coming, teams still had trouble with it - ie having Benny C coming straight as a decoy/receiver. 


Much of this more or less confirms what we already guessed. 


[h=1]Dragons Go Kiwi On Australia Day[/h]

Sunday 27 January 2013 10:30 AM

St George Illawarra Dragons Gerard Beale, Bronson Harrison and Jason Nightingale have spent Australia Day on Manly Beach as part of a new Kiwis initiative, the two-day 'Heritage Camp'.
The first-ever ‘Heritage Camp’ brought together 32 players, including all of the squad from last year’s test match in Townsville. The group assembled on Friday evening in Manly with a focus on the year ahead and especially the Kiwis defence of the Rugby League World Cup.
The camp wasn’t a demanding one physically, with the prospective Kiwis taking indoor sessions with the coaches and support staff, but on Saturday morning they got out for a playful session in the surf with the Manly Life Saving Club.
Tony Kemp, the NZRL’s General Manager of High Performance, saw the camp as a crucial opportunity to connect with the players in such an important year.
“The boys brought a great attitude into camp,” Kemp said.
“And it was nice to see the mix of players - from our senior leaders, to the teenagers, to some guys who haven’t been in a Kiwis squad for a while – working so well together.
"For those players who’ve been out of the Kiwis picture recently, the weekend will have been a real eye-opener.
"But all the boys know now what’s required of them this year – and they’ll also know there is plenty of competition to make the World Cup squad.”
The Kiwis first match this year is against the Kangaroos on April 19 in Canberra. The Rugby League World Cup runs October 26 to November 30 and is hosted by England and Wales.
Hit play to hear from Gerard Beale about his thoughts on the Kiwis and his own Haka skills!

[h=4]Kiwis ‘Heritage Camp’ Players[/h] Brisbane Broncos Alex Glenn
Brisbane Broncos Josh Hoffman
Canterbury Bulldogs Greg Eastwood
Canterbury Bulldogs Krisnan Inu
Canterbury Bulldogs Sam Kasiano
Canterbury Bulldogs Sam Perrett
Canterbury Bulldogs Frank Pritchard
Manly Sea Eagles Kieran Foran
Melbourne Storm Jesse Bromwich
Melbourne Storm Matt Duffie
Melbourne Storm Kevin Proctor
Newcastle Knights Jeremy Smith
North Queensland Cowboys Jason Taumalolo
North Queensland Cowboys Antonio Winterstein
Penrith Panthers Sam McKendry
Penrith Panthers Dean Whare
South Sydney Rabbitohs Issac Luke
St George Illawarra Dragons Gerard Beale
St George Illawarra Dragons Bronson Harrison
St George Illawarra Dragons Jason Nightingale
Sydney Roosters Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Sydney Roosters Frank-Paul Nu'uausala
Sydney Roosters Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Sydney Roosters Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Vodafone Warriors Shaun Johnson
Vodafone Warriors Thomas Leuluai
Vodafone Warriors Simon Mannering
Vodafone Warriors Ben Matulino
Vodafone Warriors Elijah Taylor
Vodafone Warriors Manu Vatuvei
Wests Tigers Adam Blair
Wests Tigers Benji Marshall
Note: Sonny Bill Williams fights next on February 8, 2013, and was not considered for the camp. 


So - Go the Kiwis !


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