St George Illawarra Dragons prop Jack de Belin is pleased to be lacing his boots once again ahead of the clash against the Brisbane Broncos at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Friday.
The Cootamundra Bulldogs junior had been nursing a bruised corked thigh for the past fortnight but became a late addition in the local derby win over the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks last round.
The former ‘NYC Player of the Year’ is keen to resume where he left off on the park linking up with fellow team mate Trent Merrin within the forward pack as is keen to test himself against the high-flying Broncos attack.
“It’s obvious we’re not the biggest forward pack, we’re a bit smaller, but we’ve got a good mobile, ball-playing forward pack and have to use that to our advantage,” said de Belin.
“We have to play smart and have good movement and solid ball control.
“Trent Merrin is one of the best off loaders in the comp and Adam Quinlan is one of the best support players in the game, so we’ve got a some talented players.
“Paul McGregor has brought a lot of new principles to the game and we’ve got the forwards doing a lot more ball play and tipping to each other.
“We’ve got a great team and it’s a bit of a Coach’s nightmare but in the same sense it’s a great position to be in, having that depth and competition around those positions.”
Dragons second-rower Mike Cooper additionally heralded the efforts of Merrin as well as captain Ben Creagh.
The English ex-pat has featured in all three fixtures for the Red V since arriving during the off-season and is grateful for the way his teammates have welcomed him into the fold.
“I’m really enjoying playing in the NRL as I like the speed of the play and I’m just happy to be in the 17,” said Cooper.
“Trent Merrin and Ben Creagh have been outstanding in the first few rounds, they’re an example of professional athletes and I’m just trying to learn all I can from them and follow in their footsteps.
“It will be tough, I’m sure it will be a fiery game.
“I think as a pack we’ve been performing pretty well and we have to be on the ball this week.
“I am hoping to experience a big crowd at WIN Stadium and we’ll be ready to put on a great display.”