St George Illawarra Dragons prop Dan Hunt is excited to line-up against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the 31st Annual Charity Shield match at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
The Dapto Canaries junior is certain speed will be the difference against Souths due to their big forward pack but believes the Red V forwards have been working hard enough to stand their ground.
The 27-year-old is eager to make a return to the field in the coming season after spending most of the 2013 campaign on the sideline with injuries to his knee and shoulder.
“My knee is going well, I got through my first trial on the weekend against the Bulldogs; now I’ll just get back into training to be ready for the Charity Shield on Saturday,” said Hunt.
“I’ll be happy to get 20 to 40 minutes out there, it depends on what the coaches want, but I would like to get a bit of game time out there heading into the start of the season.
“Souths are obviously one of the benchmark teams; we need to prove ourselves against them and we’ve been working on plenty of things during the off season.
“We need to start fast and hard against them because they’re a big pack and mobile; we need to do all the little things we’ve been working on during preseason and hopefully we’ll perform well on Saturday.
“I think the new forwards are going really well; Joel Thompson brings a lot of aggression, Mike Cooper is fitting in well, Josh Ailaomai and Matt Groat provide us with some depth.
“Jack Stockwell and Jack de Belin have matured a lot since last year and Leeson Ah Mau is training really well too, they’re all just tearing in.
“We won one of three in the Nines but I think it’s a totally different game to Rugby League; I think Saturday night will be a better indication of where we need to improve.
“I love playing in Wollongong, all the boys do; we’re really looking forward to playing for the Charity Shield down here and I’m sure the local crowd will come out and support us.
“I had a shoulder reconstruction during the offseason, so obviously not the best season last year but it is all a part of football and it made me realise how lucky I am to be playing footy for the Dragons.
“I have a whole new lease on life for 2014 so I can’t wait to get out there and start playing.
“This time last year I had a torn calf, I wasn’t able to play any trials so I’m feeling more positive about this season but I’m just taking it one week at a time.”
Click here for the Dragons Charity Shield Line-Up!