Jason Nightingale: NRL Rugby League - Round 1 - St.George-Illawarra Dragons V Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Sunday the 9th of March 2014. Digital Image by Robb Cox nrlphotos.com

Nightingale: Fired Up For Derby

St George Illawarra Dragons winger Jason Nightingale is keen for the local derby against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Remondis Stadium, Cronulla on Saturday.

The New Zealand international is enthusiastic about how the season has commenced for the Red-and-Whites but knows form goes out the door against their rivals.

The 27-year-old has been named in a 19-man squad by Head Coach Steve Price for the encounter and has encouraged his teammates to continue working hard.

“It’s very exciting to begin the year well; it has taken a bit of tension away from the club and we’re really enjoying our footy which is helping our game,” said Nightingale.

“Gareth Widdop has obviously been a positive addition to the club, but some of the boys we gained last year like Tyson Frizell and Trent Merrin have remained consistent.

“We’ve had a lot of good performances in these first few games and we need to keep those to maintain consistency.

“I’ve always loved the local rivalries, they are great games; both teams get up for them and this weekend will be no different up a Shark Park, it’s the first of two installments.

“I’m really looking forward to this game, I’m sure they’ll be fired up and we’ll need to do the same if we want to come out on top.

“It’ll be different playing against Matt Prior; I played alongside him since juniors so it will be a new experience and I’m sure he’ll have a few good surprises for us.

“I’ve played with Michael Witt and Sam Williams and they are both genuine halfbacks and really good ball players in their own right.

“Witt brings a bit more experience with his age and Sam has the youth and exuberance.

They’ve been great to play alongside and I’m looking forward to running out there with Sam on the weekend.

“They’ll be battling for the halfback position in Round 4 when they’re both fit.

“My family came out from their home and braved the weather in New Zealand to see the Dragons play the Warriors; it was good to see them even for a small amount of time.

“Paul McGregor brings a lot of structure and ideas to the side; he really pushes them on to us and motivates us to execute our attacking plays, setting up the plays and making sure everyone knows their job.”