Thompson: Mentoring The Juniors

St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Joel Thompson has embraced the opportunity to become a mentor to the younger members emerging within the squad.

The five-time Indigenous All-Star is in the midst of his fourth season with the Red-and-Whites and is impressed with the effort and commitment shown so far by the junior players as well as the new recruits to the Club.

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Young Dragons quintet Patrick Herbert, Blake Lawrie, Jai Field, Reuben Garrick and Blake Lawrie have all been invited to partake in the first-grade pre-season training program and Thompson notes he partly sees it as his role to get the next generation of players ready.

“Most of the players have returned in good shape and we know we have to put a lot of work in leading into this season,” said Thompson.

“We’ve come in here so far working hard and taking our training up another level.

“We have some new guys in the squad as well as some younger players who have come up from the NYC too.

“Paul Vaughan was coming through the ranks during our time together at the Canberra Raiders and proved to be a good talent.

“He has massive potential and has arrived with the right attitude and ripping straight in and its really good that he is part of the team as I think he’s going to have a good year.

“All the younger blokes too have come in here and are showing the right attitude and want to learn.

“We want to build a really good culture here so that when we move on and finish those guys can carry that one.

“It’s all about working hard and trying to do the best they can and the young guys have really done that.

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“I am one of the more older guys now and I am definitely trying to help the younger guys transition into full-time training.

“Having said that, the goal for me too is getting the body into the fittest shape it can be and the strongest it can be as well while learning to be a bit more disciplined with the little things.”