By Nathan Davis
St George Illawarra Dragons lock Jack de Belin has applauded the mentorship and knowledge of the game provided by Assistant Coaches Dean Young and Ben Hornby.
The Cootamundra Bulldogs junior considers his former teammates, who were appointed to their most present role ahead of the upcoming campaign, the perfect additions to the coaching staff and is enjoying each’s respective e tutelage.
De Belin, 23, believes Head Coach Paul McGregor is taking his first pre-season in charge in his strides and considers the new training regime both unique and effective.
“It’s great having both Ben and Dean as just thinking that three years ago I was playing with these guys and now they are in a coaching position is unbelievable,” said de Belin.
“Their knowledge of football is outstanding and their communication and one-on-one skills are top notch.
“Credit to them and credit to Mary for putting them on board because I know a lot of the boys have really responded to them working with us.
“Pre-season in general is never your favourite time of your footballing career but it’s going really well. I can really see improvements coming into the New Year.
“Mary has brought a lot more football related drills and conditioning.
“Other years we have focused on our conditioning, but now we are incorporating ball-work into that. Running drills with the ball, playing under fatigue stuff like that.
“Overall all the boy’s skills have definitely increased.
“I felt like last year I had a bit of a patchy year, at times it was good and at others it was bad.
“But once Mary took over I felt like I definitely found my feet and I really took off starting to show some of the potential I am capable of reaching.
“It’s definitely time to step up, I felt like on the backend of last year I was starting to move into that direction, if I could just keep that form I know I could show my full potential and bring my game to whole new level.
“Whatever happens, where ever I play, I will always do it at the best of my ability.”
Despite his plans to reach his best, de Belin has thought little past the upcoming Auckland Nines tournament.
“Last year we got over there and didn’t really know what we were doing and we just played by ear and the results showed that.
“But we had the best time and overall, it’s such an unbelievable weekend.
“I know the players love playing and it’s good to see some of the old heads get the boots on again.
“It’s a great weekend and I will be honoured to go back.
“I haven’t thought too much about 2015; to be honest I am focusing more on a day to day during pre-season, getting through it and getting fit.
“It’s always been a thing of mine just to train hard, play your best and what happens, happens.
“When it becomes time to start thinking about Charity Shield and England, that’s when I will put my hand up.”