By Nathan Beuman
St George Illawarra veteran Jason Nightingale believes Jai Field’s inclusion in Wednesday night's New South Wales Under-20’s Origin side will prove beneficial for the Dragons moving forward.
Field, who was one of four Dragons to score in NSW's 30-16 win over Queensland, has been named on the bench to play the Wests Tigers this Saturday afternoon at ANZ Stadium.
"I think he is getting better and better, and the representative honours he has achieved this year will only make him grow as a player," Nightingale said.
"We are going to be the ones to benefit from that, and I’m sure he will do himself and the Dragons proud moving forward."
Nightingale said Field was one of several options to play fullback next year including Field following recent news of Josh Dugan's departure at season's end.
"I think there is potential for plenty of people to play number one," Nightingale said.
“I think Jai will be more a five-eighth or a halfback. That is where he has played all of his juniors, but he is definitely fast enough and has enough of a running game to play fullback."
Nightingale also discussed his own future at the Dragons and said he would love to extend his status as a one-club player.
"Every game you play is a pitch to the club," the Kiwis international said.
"Now that [Dugan’s future is sorted], I think there are plenty of people coming off contract that will be sorted over the coming months.
"For now though I think we can change focus to what is happening here and get back to footy."
Despite losing a number of key players through injury, Nightingale believes it has been the ability of the Dragons' depth that has resulted in the club's success this year.
"Kalifa (Faifai Loa) was a good example of someone who came in and slotted in nicely," Nightingale said of the winger's two-try heroics against the Warriors a fortnight ago.
"People understand their role, and there aren’t too many expectations put on them.
"I think that seamless transition is why we have been able to play consistently in the absence of Duges (Dugan) and Gareth (Widdop)."