St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Drew Hutchison has heaped praised on the four new recruits recently elevated from the Illawarra Cutters squad.
Dragons quartet Shaun Nona (five-eighth), Levi Dodd (centre), Chris Lewis (second-row) and (Jacob Hind) all played alongside Hutchison at various stages with the Cutters as they went on to win both the NSW Cup Premiership and NRL State Championship last season.
All four players were elevated to respective one-year first-grade contracts ahead of the new campaign for their on field efforts and Hutchison believes each will flourish being within a professional training environment.
“I was actually away when I heard the news that all four players had signed but when I got back I was straight on the telephone to congratulate each of them,” said Hutchison.
“Shaun is a very skilful player who I played alongside last season in the Cutters and we struck up some pretty good combinations so its good to see him rewarded for the way he played last year and get a contract with the first-grade squad.
“He is a pretty flarey kind of player who can pull something out of nowhere whether it be him grubbering it or putting on the perfect pass.
“He has a very good running game as well so he is in fact a pretty complete player and its always enjoyable playing with him.
“Levi is a good player who can carry the ball with both hands and is overall very skilful and he will really benefit from this first-grade pre-season.
“Chris is a player who has gotten better each year that I have played with him and he’s getting bigger as well so I suppose he will also benefit having a full first-grade pre-season under his belt and playing alongside better players.
“Jacob has been in the Cutters system for a number of years now and to see him getting rewarded with a first-grade contract is unreal.
“I think all the players will push the squad for positional selection as they will be pushing for first-grade spots.”