St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team second-rower Jacob Host is making the most of the invaluable experience on offer after being invited to train alongside the first-grade squad this pre-season.
The local Renown United junior is one of several players from the Young Dragons ranks invited by Head Coach Paul McGregor to train with the senior team and admits the prospect was daunting at first.
Host, who was named the 2015 Paul McGregor NYC ‘Player of the Year’, notes NSW Country Origin representative duo Tyson Frizell and Joel Thompson have both been mentors for him thus far and that his overall game is benefiting from the knowledge being acquired.
“Training is going good so far but as you can image in is an entirely different level training alongside the first-grade squad,” said Host.
“I’m loving every minute of it though.
“It was a bit touch-and-go to begin with but my body has pushed through the barrier and gotten used to what is required of me.
“Being around the training environment at first was a bit intimidating but once you get to know them you realise they are humans as well.
“It’s good being part of this with other players from the NYC team so you can lean on one another and it makes things a bit more comfortable to adapt to.
“I’ve been picking the brains of Tyson Frizell and Joel Thompson to try and learn from them, especially their perspectives on the game and understanding the little things they do so I can better myself.
“It’s always been my dream to play for the Club and was one of the main reasons why I wanted to play for Renown United in the first place.
“I always wanted to play in the Dragons competition despite originally being from the Canterbury district.
“As a child growing up I idolised Matt Cooper but I was a bit too big to play in the centres so decided to shift into the middle.
“I will just have to keep working hard and taking board everything that is told to me.”