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Mentally stronger Sloan ready to take opportunity

Tyrell Sloan walked into All Stars camp on Saturday with a vastly different mentality to when he made his debut for the Indigenous side 12 months ago. 

He returned to where it all began prior to flying out to New Zealand on Monday with a visit to Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation, a place he attended while he was raised by his grandmother Colleen nearby in Campbelltown. 

Sloan said he's come a long way to this time last year when he was pushing for a spot in St George Illawarra's top 30 before later falling out of favour with coach Anthony Griffin.

He managed just eight games in total, dropped after three rounds before getting another crack at fullback in round 10 and then playing four games late in the season from the bench and on the wing.

"Mentally I’ve matured a lot in the last 3-4 months, I’ve had to grow up and take advice a different way," Sloan told during the community visit.

Tyrell Sloan is welcomed back to Tharawal land on Saturday.
Tyrell Sloan is welcomed back to Tharawal land on Saturday. ©Supplied

"I’m still very young but am growing up quicker than other people. Last year I went through a patch where I was down and out but it’s all a part of my learning.

"I actually thanked 'Hook' for dropping me last year, it’s made me come back stronger and be a lot happier and ready for 2023.

"He’s straight-forward and I’d rather be told up front than be lied to. He’s a great man and I now see why it happened.

"I was kicking stones blaming everyone else but this year I just want to take it on and handle any criticism that comes my way and lead the Red V."

Sloan's chances of cementing the fullback role at the Dragons in 2023 came at the unfortunate expense of Cody Ramsey, who will miss the entire season through illness. 

Tyrell Sloan walks onto the field with his grandmother Colleen during Women in League round last year.
Tyrell Sloan walks onto the field with his grandmother Colleen during Women in League round last year. ©NRL Photos

"The best thing about us is we’re very close friends and he’s helping me with my game as much as he can off the field," Sloan said.

"That’s with education, video and guidance. He had most games at the back last year and it means a lot that we're working together. That’s where people get it twisted, they think it’s Cody Ramsey v Sloan but we’re a team together.

"He’s in my corner and I’m in his corner."

Sloan was all smiles as he met with locals in Campbelltown and caught up with family he'd not seen for years with over 500 in attendance.

With the All Stars clash headed to New Zealand's Rotorua for the first time in the concept's history, it was the only chance some members of the side had to connect with Indigenous communities before departing.

"I was at that 50-50 mark around what I knew about my culture going into last year's match but going into camp it opens you up a lot more," Sloan said.

"The whole camp is all about fun and that’s the main thing. It was surreal to come back. I remember when I was a young kid coming here and I was looked after, I felt like I belonged.

"My nan always taught me respect. I was learning a bit about the Maori culture too given we're going over to their land. Their culture is dialled into schools and that’s something I wish was here more. Hopefully later on down the track it is like that."

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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