It was a big season for Tyrell Sloan in 2021 but the 19-year-old has more goals and ideas in mind for an even better year in 2022.
The skilful outside back made his debut in both The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup and the NRL during 2021 for the St George lllawarra Dragons.
While the COVID-19 pandemic halted all NSWRL competitions in June, and the Dragons failed to make the NRL finals, Sloan still made his presence felt.
In the NSW Cup, Sloan scored two tries in three games along with two line-breaks.
In the NRL, he scored six tries in five games, with two try assists and 13 tackle-busts.
That kind of form earned him a call-up into the 2022 Future Blues squad by Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler, with a camp being held at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence in December last year.
Although he doesn’t turn 20 until next June, Sloan is mindful of how the NSWRL pathways produce results. Prop Payne Haas was in the squad in 2019 and played Origin that year, as did Brian To’o and Liam Martin from the 2021 squad.
“For sure that’s what every player here wants to do too,” Sloan said.
“I’ve had a little taste of it in the Under 18s and Under 16s.
“So, getting those blue jerseys was a dream come true for me. Now to have a chance to pull it on in the first grade arena would be awesome. It’s very special that NSW jersey.
“Freddy had a video for us, and he spoke about taking every opportunity. Obviously, it’s probably still down the track for me a bit. I won’t look too far ahead but it would be a dream achievement that’s for sure.”
Part of his improvement plan for 2022 is to put into action at the Dragons some of the lessons he took away from the camp, especially mingling with past and present True Blues.
“We had a couple of guest speakers – Nathan Cleary, Tom Trbojevic, Boyd Cordner,” Sloan said.
“They all had different meanings for us all and took all our questions. Boyd spoke about the toughness of Origin and the mental side of that.
“Nathan was more on dealing with setbacks and how to be professional on and off the field, and Tom talked about how to aim for consistency in everything you do.
“I really dialled into Tommy because he plays my position of fullback, so I was after all the knowledge I could get from him.
“He had a breakout year – one of the best years of any Rugby League player. So, I tried to pick his brain on everything he did throughout the year.”
The 25-member squad also benefitted from positional skills and training drills, which were provided by NSWRL royalty and former Origin captains in Immortal Andrew Johns, series-winning skippers Danny Buderus and Cordner.
“Joey was working with us, Boyd, Danny Buderus and that’s such a good thing,” Sloan said.
“We had some chats in the lecture theatre and then out on the field. All the boys were all ears and eyes, taking down notes, learning the importance of our game on and off the field.”