By Jack Brady (NRL.com)
Tyrone McCarthy is ready to turn dreams into reality in 2016 as he looks to earn an NRL debut at the St George Illawarra Dragons.
McCarthy comes to the Dragons after one-year stints in the Intrust Super Cup in 2014 and at Hull KR last season.
His season with the Pride included the inaugural NRL State Championship victory, and the 27-year-old Irish International believes his year in far-North Queensland was the impetus behind his return to Australia.
"I grew up watching the NRL every Saturday morning and it was always an ambition, but probably one that I never made an actual goal," McCarthy told NRL.com.
"I think my year at the Northern Pride and playing against NRL players in the Queensland Cup probably gave me the desire to come back and give it a crack.
"I was fortunate to be in a real good side, we were pretty successful and it gave me a bit of belief that I could match up against quality players. It's up to me to prove that."
However McCarthy's Hull KR sabbatical was a matter of his want to return to full-time rugby league and to show his worth for those who may be interested in Australia.
"Halfway through the season I realised how much I was missing being a full-time player. I had a teaching role up in Cairns and it's something I really enjoyed too but it was brilliant to be back in the full-time environment at Hull," McCarthy said.
"There were a few clubs I was talking to but Hull KR gave me an offer I couldn't refuse. We had a successful year there making the Challenge Cup final so it's a time I'll look fondly back on.
"The boys have been fantastic with me [at the Dragons]. There's been a huge turnover of players so us new boys have all settled in well together which has been great.
"The culture seems to be on point and I can't fault the club at all. This is my third new club in three seasons so hopefully I can find some stability here."
Signing a two-year deal at the club, McCarthy was thankful to former Warrington and now Dragons teammate Mike Cooper for playing his bit in getting him to the club.
"When Mike heard a few rumours the Dragons were interested he picked up the phone and told me about the club. I'd kept in touch with him and seen how well he's done in the past couple of seasons," McCarthy said.
"He spoke so highly of the club and obviously having a familiar face around the club makes things easier when he eventually turns up. Mike's presence will eventually make the transition for my partner Helen and I much easier."