By Nathan Beuman
St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Drew Hutchinson confesses he has his eyes firmly set on a first-grade debut in 2015.
The Albion Park-Oak Flats Eagles junior believes that working alongside an experienced international halves pairing of Gareth Widdop and Benji Marshall has better prepared him for the top grade both on and off the field and he will seize his opportunity to play if it comes.
Hutchison, 19, had a banner campaign in 2014 representing both the Junior Kangaroos and New South Wales U20 State of Origin as well as feature in the second-half of the season for the Illawarra Cutters.
“Marshall and Widdop have been around a lot longer than I have so it’s been pretty good to learn off them,” said Hutchison.
“I think the main thing (I’ve learnt) is just how to carry yourself and how to train hard.
“Pre-season training is going very well actually and I am injury free, touch wood.
“I really think I am coming along nicely myself and along with the team.
“Obviously the last few pre-seasons I’ve come in with a shoulder injury… Now it is pretty much back to full strength so no injuries are holding me backs at the moment.
“Obviously I’ve experienced a few of these coaches from last year and had a bit to do with them.
“So far they sort of know the structures that not only me, but the rest of the side likes to play in which has helped us.
“Representing NSW and Australia were both pretty good experiences.
“They were both probably on my goals at the start of the year as well, so it was pretty good… They have definitely helped my confidence.”
“My goal for 2015 is to make my NRL debut as that is probably one of the biggest goals and one of my goals since I was a young kid.
“Obviously debut in the NRL and hopefully hold a spot for quite a few years.”