St George Illawarra Dragons new-recruit Shaun Nona will not allow his rehabilitation from ankle surgery deter his goal of playing first-grade ahead of the new season.

The Tully Tigers junior is presently sidelined after having off-season surgery on a syndesmosis in his ankle he had sustained whilst representing the Illawarra Cutters in the NRL State Championship last season.

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Nona is one of four players elevated from the Cutters ranks to one-year first-grade contracts for the campaign ahead and hopes to train alongside his new teammates come the end of the first pre-season block in December.

However, the pivot is well aware he needs to bide his time whilst rehabilitating the ailment and to do so slowly and diligently.

“I don’t want to rush it and miss out when the season starts so I am trying to do everything right,” said Nona.

“I hope to be back on my feet towards the end of this year but it’s a pretty slow injury that requires me to do all the little things right to get it to where I want it to be.

“Unfortunately, during the NRL State Championship game in the last five minutes I got my ankle caught underneath one of the opposition player’s body and did my syndesmosis.

“I had to get surgery a few weeks ago and here I am not on the road of rehab at the moment.

“It’s great to be here and I am looking forward to the season ahead.

“This is the second NRL club that I have been involved with having previously been with the Melbourne Storm but I am stoked to now be with the Dragons and look forward to what lies ahead.

“It was great to achieve everything we did with the Cutters last season with such a great bunch of boys and our performances in both grand finals showed how close we were as a group.

“When I found out that the other guys had been given the promotion as well I was stoked and we all got in contact with each other.

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“As a player I pride myself on my short-kicking game to try and build a lot of pressure against other teams.

“Hopefully I get an opportunity here in the season ahead to do just that.”