St George Illawarra Dragons utility Will Matthews admits the opportunity to help the team reach Finals Football once again is what will drive him on this campaign.
The Kyogle Turkeys junior was a late casualty towards the tail-end of last season after suffering a campaign-ending should injury which forced him to the side lines and miss out playing Finals Series football.
Matthews laments that it hurt not being able to test himself during the Elimination Finals fixture against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs but intends to do whatever it takes, and wherever he is required to play, to help the team reach the Finals Series once more now he has had surgery.
“It was disappointing not being able to play in the Elimination Finals game against the Bulldogs as I’ve never played any Finals football before,” said Matthews.
“Missing out on that game has given be the drive and passion to get back in there and rip-in now in the hopes we make the Finals Series again.
“The pre-season is coming along well for me given I had to have surgery on my shoulder during the break so it’s all about trying to find my feet again.
“I’m taking things slowly at the moment and not going into the contact too early to allow my shoulder to mend itself without putting pressure on it.
“I’ve lost a few kilograms not being able to continue my weights program towards the back end of last season and I have come back into the squad slightly lighter.
“I’m looking though to putting the weight back on in the gym so it’s full steam ahead now.
I’m scheduled to start doing a bit more contact towards the second half of the pre-season program in the new year and make sure I get the shoulder right in time for the trials.
“The Coach has told me to continue working on my versatility which benefits the team when I play in either the forward-pack or back-row.
“Personally I really did enjoy playing in the back-row when I was given the chance but we have great players across the park so I’ll be happy to play my part if selected in the 17.”