By Nathan Davis
St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team five-eighth Drew Hutchison is eager to role his sleeves up and learn as much as possible off his first-grade peers.
The Junior Kangaroos representative is one of several members of the Young Dragons squad invited to train alongside the first-grade full-time pre-season training squad.
The Albion Park Oak Flats Eagles junior understands the importance of the playmaker position and is aware he will learn valuable lessons shadowing the likes of Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop when the latter returns from his commitments with the England squad.
“I’ve grown up in the local area supporting the side so it’s a good experience to be here and pretty much a dream come true,” said Hutchison.
“There are some experienced blokes around here and especially so in the halves amongst which are Gareth Widdop, Benji Marshall and now Beau Henry who has also played first-grade.
“It’s pretty good to feed of those blokes as they’ve all played NRL and for the most part experienced in their positions so hopefully I’ll learn a lot and progress onwards.
“They know the pressure of the position and what it takes to succeed in it so just learning some good habits from these guys will be one thing I will really take into me stride.”
The NSW Blues U20 representative made the step-up in playing grade midway through last campaign by competing for the Illawarra Cutters in the NSW Cup competition.
Hutchison now has his eyes firmly set on making his first-grade debut at some stage next season if the chance arises.
“It was a pretty successful year for the Cutters as we did win a few games and I was happy to be a part of that,” said Hutchison.
“I want to keep getting on the front foot and putting in some good performances and hopefully break into the first-grade squad this year.
“Making my debut for the Dragons this year is one of my main goals as everyone wants to play first-grade.
“I just want to be as fit as I can and as strong as I can and learn the most off these blokes that have been here for a long time.”