St George Illawarra Dragons National Youth Competition team centre Izaac Thompson is appreciative of everything required to become a first-grade player.

The local Kingsgrove Colts junior is part of a contingent of Young Dragons players selected by Head Coach Paul McGregor to train alongside the first-grade this pre-season.

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Thompson admits he has grown as a player both on the field and off it these past few month and owes a lot to both hooker Siliva Havili and McGregor himself.

“I honestly didn’t expect the call-up when I was invited to train with the squad as I thought I would just be training with the Under 20s,” said Thompson.

“I’ve been taking every day as it comes and been thankful for being here.

“It has been one of the hardest pre-season I’ve had to go through but its been very worthwhile training with the first-grade squad players.

“All the senior boys have been really helpful including Siliva Havili who has been helping me with my eating habits.

“Both my sleep and diet are two of the things that I need to work on and fortunately I’m getting some good advice which is good.

“Paul McGregor has also been helping me with my game when I’ve been training on the field by giving me a few pointers.

“I’m in a privileged position and I’m taking everything in.”