By Nathan Beuman
St George Illawarra Dragons prop George Rose is still pinching himself ahead of his debut against the Melbourne Storm at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Monday.
The five-time Indigenous All-Star, who joined the Red-and-Whites during the off-season from the upcoming opposition, is a childhood Dragons supporter and admits he cannot wait to don the famous Red V and take to the field.
Rose, 31, admits that the quality of players who missed the initial 19-man team list named by Head Coach Paul McGregor for the Emergency Services Cup encounter shows the depth and talent of the squad and is aware there will be competition this season for coveted spots in the starting line-up.
“It will be my first home game, and for it to be at Jubilee, it will be great,” said Rose.
“I’m really looking forward to that, and hoping for a good reception from the crowd.
“Jubilee Oval was the first place I went to watch a Dragons game and I went there to watch Ricky Walford play back in the 1990’s.
“Melbourne has been a quality side for a number of years, so it will be a great test for us as a squad to see where we are at for this season.
“We have done a lot of hard work, so it will be great if we can measure that up against some quality sides, and Melbourne is probably one of the better ones to do that against.
"They have been a really good side for the past decade and I think it will be a good test for us to see where we're at based on what we've done in the pre-season.
“The Storm still have great players there and they continue to have great players coming through year in, year out.
"I think guys like Jesse Bromwich, Tohu Harris and Kevin Proctor really stood up last year and they're like another big three coming through and making their mark in every game.
“The quality of their team across the park though is really good.
“Depth in any squad is always important as it keeps everyone on their toes and working hard and it’s no different here with the Dragons.
“Whether it be playing first-grade or for the Illawarra Cutters, every contracted Dragons player competing each weekend will be trying their hardest.”
The Emergency Services Cup is an initiative between the Dragons and the Storm, with the support of the New South Wales and Victorian Governments, established in 2009.
It recognises all the Emergency Services personnel who give up their services to the communities of both States.
All Emergency Services personnel who attend the fixture upon display of appropriate identification will be provided with free entry to the General Admission area.
Furthermore, become a Red V Member today and March With Us in time for the first home game against the Storm to go into the draw to win $10,000!
Plus there are eight great weekly prizes up for grabs in the lead up to the major prize draw including Corporate Hospitality for you and three friends, Dragons Team Store Merchandise Vouchers and Platinum Fitness First Memberships.