By Nathan Davis

St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team co-captain Addin Fonua-Blake is determined to make the most of his opportunity to train alongside the first-grade pre-season train-on squad.

The Junior Kiwis representative is one of three players invited to train alongside the first-grade squad and is making the most of his opportunity to learn from his senior peers.

Fonua-Blake, 19, is hopeful to break into the squad fulltime after making his debut for the Illawarra Cutters in the NSW Cup last season.

He is however happy to take the experiences gained over the coming months back to the Young Dragons if required.

The Young Dragons were ultimately one game shy of a berth in the Grand Final having finished fourth in the regular competition and Fonua-Blake is hoping they go one better this time around.

“There is a lot of experience in the first-grade side,” said Fonua-Blake.

“Working alongside Ben Creagh and Trent Merrin, you always have to keep an open mind and just be ready to learn things off them.

“They are obviously players who have done things that I’m and hoping to do, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can off those boys.

“Pre-season training can be hard, but it’s something you have to get done as it allows you time to look into your faults.”

“I was pretty stoked to make it as far as we did, obviously I’m unhappy to not get into the Grand Final, but the end result was good.

“I was very happy with the boys and how the team was playing.

“Playing briefly with the Illawarra Cutter’s this year was also good as I felt as if I was really challenging myself.

“I can play Under 20s again, but I’m hoping to make it to NSW Cup, and if I can’t make that, hopefully get into the NRL and see how I go.

“Mary had a chat with me, he wants me to be fit and give myself the best opportunity that I can.”