The St George Illawarra Dragons 2016 squad officially returned to training on Thursday ahead of next season featuring a number of new faces as well as some younger players still eligible for NYC.
Coach McGregor indicated that some of the players had returned earlier than others but all were fresh and motivated for the season ahead.
“We had some guys back two weeks ago. Those were one to three year players so we needed to put a bit more work into them before the senior players come back,” said McGregor
The new recruits were also given a head start on some of the key structures and plays at the Dragons.
“We wanted to really teach them the basic principles of our defence and a little bit about our attack so they can chime in pretty quickly when the other guys are back”.
Coach McGregor indicated that newly appointed Director of Performance and Medical Tony Ayoub had also begun work early in an attempt to get everything ready in preparation for the squads return.
“He started really early he wanted to touch base with everyone and had individual interviews [with the players],” McGregor said
“Tony comes with a wealth of experience he’s the kind of professional that puts the player first and the Club first.”
The Dragons have completed several upgrades to facilities in the off-season which includes a completely refurbished dressing room, new bathroom facilities with hot and cold recovery baths as well as upgrades to key gym equipment.
“We have worked hard this off-season to ensure that our training facilities are state of the art. We wanted the players to return to an environment that allows them to give 100% in preparation for next season,” added McGregor.
“It was pleasing to see that the players have looked after themselves over the break and are ready to get stuck-in to the weights and fitness programs the staff have set.”
Outside back Dylan Farrell is yet to return to training as he continues his recovery from a back injury.
Gareth Widdop, Mike Cooper and Jason Nightingale presently taking part in the England vs New Zealand Test series in the UK will not report for duty until the New Year.
The current Dragons squad is:
Leeson Ah Mau; Euan Aitken; Tom Carr; Mike Cooper; Ben Creagh; Jack De Belin; Josh Dugan; Kalifa Faifai Loa; Dylan Farrell; Tyson Frizell; Yaw Kiti Glymin; Siliva Havili; Jacob Host; Drew Hutchison; Sebastine Ikahihifo; Dunamis Lui; Kurt Mann; Jake Marketo; Benji Marshall; Mose Masoe; Peter Mata’utia; Will Matthews; Tyrone McCarthy; Josh McCrone; Taane Milne; Jason Nightingale; Russell Packer; Mitch Rein; Hame Sele; Joel Thompson; Gareth Widdop.
NYC players participating in NRL pre-season
Matthew Dufty; Patrick Herbert; Luciano Leilua; Blake Lawrie; Isaac Thompson.