St George Illawarra Dragons captain Ben Creagh is impressed by his new teammates and younger faces at the Red-and-Whites’ preseason training and is eager to play alongside them in the coming campaign.

The University of Wollongong junior is additionally enthusiastic about the imminent NRL Auckland Nines tournament and feels it is an excellent way for fans to support their teams before the 2014 season.

The 28-year-old also notes being honoured to be seen as a role model for younger players in the team and understands the responsibility he has to set a good example to them, both on and off the field.

“It’s been great to see so many new faces training for the past 8 weeks, it’s been nice to see fresh talent and the younger boys gain confidence,” said Creagh.

“Joel Thompson and Mike Cooper have both been great at training, they bring a lot of energy to the side and have a lot of enthusiasm; I’m really looking forward to playing alongside those two and watching them through trials.

“We all know last season was a tough one so there’s extra incentive and motivation to do well in 2014, we’ve all been training hard since before the start of the year so we should see that hard work pay off.

“The Auckland Nines coming into trials is something different and exciting for fans and there has been talk over the past few years that the NRL has been playing too many major trials before the start of the season and getting injured in the process.

“I think it is good to mix it up a bit and we’re only playing one major trial match before this season with the Charity Shield match.

“I’ll be playing a bit in the front row again this year as well as the back row, I’ve trained most of this preseason in the middle and I am pretty comfortable playing on the edge.

“I’ve really been enjoying learning and I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing there this year.

“I don’t really have any goals for this year, I only want to stay injury free, stay fit and keep doing my job for the team.

“It’s still early days but if we can go into the season fit and fresh we will surprise a few teams; training has been great so far and that is always a good sign for the start of the year.

“I think it is important that the captain and senior player are people who the younger guys look up to, want to train with and aspire to; that’s really important for the club moving forward.”