By Nathan Davis

St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Shannon Crook is relishing his opportunity to have been elevated to the first-grade for the season ahead.

The Narellan Jets is presently in the midst of his first pre-season training with the first-grade squad following his graduation from the National Youth Competition team.

The halfback’s goals for the season is to establish himself in the squad and continue to knuckle down and learn from the likes of fellow pivot Benji Marshall.

 “I’m enjoying playing around Benji Marshall that’s for sure,” said Crook.

“Coming into the squad I wasn’t really sure how the boys were going to be but they were all welcoming, especially Benji.

“He’s a character around training and every now and then he’ll take me aside and show me a couple of things that I could improve upon. Having him here has been great for my game.

“Benji’s been awesome, so having Gareth Widdop back is going to be much better.

“Being a young bloke and having two international players to learn off, I couldn’t ask for more.”

 “McGregor hasn’t said too much to me, but I know what I have to do.

“I have to go out and train hard every session. I have to give 100% and really push for a spot.

“It’s tough but it’s also very enjoyable so credit to the coaching staff on the way they’ve put together this pre-season.

There is a lot of concentration on fitness, which is hard, but there is also a focus on football skills, it’s so rewarding and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

 “It’s a big privilege to be up and training with the NRL squad.”