St George Illawarra Dragons centre Euan Aitken has revealed that competition for positions within the team is gradually mounting as the pre-season progresses.
The local Merimbula/Pambula Bulldog junior, who played 24 first-grade fixtures for the Red-and-Whites in the centres last season, notes that there is healthy competition emerging within the ranks including his own three-quarters spot.
The Junior Kangaroos admits he has welcomed the rivalry as it will ultimately benefit all players to lift their game but remain focused on what he needs to improve on in his own game this pre-season.
“The week just gone was one of our toughest periods of the pre-season as it focuses purely on conditioning,” said Aitken.
“We have all been ripping into the long sessions which have been testing our mental and physical toughness – it was tough this week.
“I spent the off-season travelling around Europe which was good as it allowed me to get away from everything and simply relax.
“My body was pretty fresh when I returned and I’ve been jumping straight into whatever has been thrown at me.
“Kurt Mann has been a standout for me of the new faces in the squad so far and he’s been up there as one of the fittest in the squad this pre-season.
“He’s a very skilful guy who can play fullback as well as five-eighth or in the centres.
“There are a few guys pushing for spots which has created some healthy competition as everyone is working hard for those positions.
“It’s actually good to have that around as it makes you better as a player.
“I’ve also taken it upon myself to try and help the younger players from the NYC who have been training with us as I was in their position not too long ago.
“Everyone in the squad tries to push each other along which is what you need as it creates that bond.”