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Zac on the attack: Lomax welcomes pressure of expectation

Zac Lomax says he won't pay much mind to any scrutiny that comes with his long-term contract.

St George Illawarra have invested heavily in the talented 20-year-old utility back, locking him down until at least 2025 with a five-year extension.

It's the longest deal in the joint-venture club's history alongside that of halfback Ben Hunt, who has an option for a sixth season.

And while Hunt has copped his fair share of vitriol since joining the Dragons last year, Lomax believes he's ready for the challenge despite having only 17 NRL games to his name.

"We play NRL and we're expected to be the best, we're expected to not drop any footballs from a fan's point of view," said Lomax, who is set to start next season at fullback.

"But you expect pressure, it's a part of everyday life. I'm happy to be able to have pressure on me but I don't sort of look at it in that way.

"I'm just more than happy that I get to stay here. I'm here with my friends, my teammates - and my teammates are like brothers to me now and they have been since I've come in.

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"I'm really happy with the decision that we've made. I know it's the right one."

Lomax credited the influence of manager Steve Gillis and friends and family away from the game with keeping him grounded. 

Having been part of the St George Illawarra system since he was 13, Lomax said he felt indebted to the Dragons for their role in his development and overall support.

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"There was no hesitation [in re-signing]. My heart and my family's heart is set on Wollongong and the Dragons," Lomax said.

"We grew up playing for Temora which is the Red V as well. To be able to stay here and sign for the club for a long period of time, it's very humbling."

Family was "massive" in convincing Lomax to stay - he desperately hopes to play alongside 21-year-old brother Hayden in the NRL.

A nuggety utility forward, Hayden endured an injury-plagued 2019 but has re-signed with the Dragons until the end of 2021 and will push for a Telstra Premiership debut.

"He's my brother but he's my best friend. We've done everything together and that's the way we want to stay," Lomax said of Hayden.

"That's been a goal since we were kids. We want to be able to one day pull on the Red V jersey together.

"I'm so confident that he's going to put in the work, because you won't meet a harder trainer than him and you won't meet a better fella than him."

Hayden declared it would "mean the world" to feature for St George Illawarra with his sibling.

He hasn't had any discussions with the coaching staff about making the leap to first grade just yet.

Zac and Hayden Lomax.
Zac and Hayden Lomax. ©

"I think they're more just focused on me getting my body right, having a good year in 2020 and just hopefully playing some consistent footy," Hayden said.

Meanwhile, the younger Lomax said he'll aim to bring a non-stop work-rate at fullback, a la Raiders custodian Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

"I guess I just want to be known as that player who's going to compete on every play," Lomax said.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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