By Rachael Price

St George Illawarra Dragons centre Dylan Farrell is focused on the season ahead after spending the holiday period alongside family and friends.

The local Culburra Dolphins junior is hoping to stay injury free this season after sitting most of last year on the sideline with a torn pectoral muscle.

The 23-year-old is eager to run on the field wearing the famous Red V jersey once more this season and knows he must impress in the pre-season fixture against the Mackay Cutters at Mackay Stadium on Saturday, January 28.

Farrell is part of a 21-man travelling squad to be coached by Assistant Coach Dean Young for the opening pre-season fixture and is hoping to make a statement on the field.

“I really enjoyed the break, it was good to get away and see the family,” said Farrell.

“Pre-season before the break was great: I think we came together as a team really well and I’m looking forward to playing.

“I’ve just bought a place in Nowra so we all spent Christmas down there; my daughter’s birthday is New Year’s Eve so we had a little party for her.

“I didn’t do a whole lot, I just spent a bit of time with the family and kicking back and relaxing.

“I’ve been really impressed with our team as a whole, we’ve come together really well; individually I’m impressed with how Benji Marshall has stepped it up this year, he’s really taking on a leadership role.

“I’m hoping to have a season with no injuries this year, I’m putting last year behind me and I’ve been working really hard out on the paddock.

“There’s a lot of competition here this year so it’s going to be hard to get in the side but it’s a great thing for the Club.

“My body is holding up really well; I’ve got through the whole pre-season and now I’m looking forward to the trials.

“It was a really good experience going to the Auckland Nines last season but I am looking forward to being a part of the team which travels for the trial against the Mackay Cutters.

“It will be my first opportunity to play on the field since being sidelined and I cannot wait to test myself up there.

“As I said, there is a lot of competition for places at three-fourths this year so I need to start positively and hopefully it will go from there.”