St George Illawarra Dragons new-recruit Chris Lewis has welcomed the fact that there are no distractions standing between him and his dream of playing first-grade.

The Ashford Roosters junior is a graduate of the Club's National Youth Competition team who most recently was part of the Illawarra Cutters squad which won both the NSW Cup Premiership and NRL State Championship last season.

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Lewis, 24, is amongst four players from that Cutters squad to be elevated to one-year first-grade contracts ahead of the new campaign and he is keen to further his development as a player.

“The Illawarra is a strong area for rugby league and even though I wasn’t in the Dragons system there were other ways of playing football around here and helping to develop talent,” said Lewis.

“The more you watch the NYC you realise it’s not quite the NRL as it is a big jump and I was one of the blokes that didn’t play much during that time because I got hurt – knees, shoulders, ankles, the whole lot.

“Given the time to develop in a system like we have here in the Illawarra the Cutters system is unreal for physical development with all the tools you need available to you.

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“There’s certainly no reason why we can’t continue carrying that form into this year and continue developing as players.

“It’s a full-time job without having the distractions of work and other things as this is now our job and hopefully we can continue our development and take it up another level as a professional.”