St George Illawarra Dragons hooker Mitch Rein appreciates the specialness behind the fixture against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
The Dragons will celebrate their 100th first-grade fixture contested at the venue this round in an encounter which the local Kiama Knights junior believes will be tough against such strong opposition.
Rein, 24, admits it is vital the team builds upon their recent 22-20 victory over the Canberra Raiders in the nation’s capital last round if they are to advance up the competition table but has backed his teammates to do the job.
“We haven’t done very well in the opening two rounds this season and we really wanted to work on our game leading into Canberra,” said Rein.
“It’s no secret that we haven’t had the best record playing in Canberra so to come from behind considering everything that happened was great.
“We need to now back that up against the Sea Eagles this round who always prove tough opposition.
“The squad have gone through video of the mistakes made last weekend and have had a full week of training to prepare.
“We’re confident though that we can get away with the two points and especially here at WIN Stadium.
“I grew up in Kiama and really love coming here to train and play with the team I supported and watched as a kid.
“I’m looking forward to playing here for such an important milestone in front of friends and family and I appreciate each home game we have here.”
Rein made his representative debut last term after his on field performances earned him selection to the NSW Country Origin team.
The rake hopes he is able to again earn selection through his actions and admits he is benefiting from the experience of new teammate and fellow hooker Heath L’Estrange.
The latter arrived at the Dragons during the off-season boasting a resume which has seen him play for several clubs both in the NRL and Super League.
“Heath brings a lot of experience having played all over the NRL as well as a couple of years in the Super League and has a lot of knowledge he is passing on to me,” said Rein.
“I am learning a lot from him which in turn know will benefit me.
“Playing representative football last year for NSW Country was a great thing to be a part of and I know that I need to put in a few good solid performances for the Dragons to hopefully put myself in position again.
“First things first though is helping to get the win against the Sea Eagles this round.”