Return to WIN stirs fond memories for Farrell

CHARITY SHIELD

Whatever Dylan Farrell achieves at WIN Stadium in his Dragons career, it will be hard to top his first appearance at the venue back in 2011.

Saturday’s Charity Shield will be just his second appearance at WIN Stadium since he broke the hearts of Dragons fans with a hat-trick of tries in a come-from-behind 34-24 Rabbitohs victory.

Farrell, a proud South Coast product, hopes to build plenty more happy memories in front of a home crowd in Wollongong.

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‘‘I’ve only played here the one time in 2011, we [Rabbitohs] actually came back and beat the Dragons so that was really good,’’ Farrell said.

‘‘I think I got 26 tickets for that game so I’m going to be getting a few calls from today and through the rest of the week.

‘‘I’m not going to be able to make everyone happy but a busload of family from Culburra will come up and I’m really looking forward to it.

‘‘It [Charity Shield] means a lot to both clubs and it’s going to be exciting to see what it means to the Dragons.’’

With the exception of an 18-minute try-fest at last weekend’s Auckland Nines, the match will be Farrell’s first appearance against his former club but he plans to keep the banter to a minimum.

‘‘I’ll talk to them afterwards but I’ve tried to steer clear of them this week,’’ he said.

‘‘I had a bit of a chat to them after the [Nines] game and wished them all the best for the season, but I’m ready to go this weekend.

‘‘There’ll be a bit of banter but I’ll keep it hush hush until after the game.’’

He’s also refrained from providing any inside knowledge to his new teammates saying there’s no secret to the Rabbitohs success.

‘‘They’ve all watched them play over the years they’ve got a pretty similar style, very structured very disciplined and we’ve really got to man up,’’ he said.

‘‘Obviously they’ve got a massive pack that always gets their game going, I’ve been on the back of that the last few years.

‘‘They’ve got Greg Inglis at the back ... there’s not a whole lot I can say there, he’s just a freak and we’ve just got to work as a team to stop him.’’

While the match against his former club adds spice to Saturday’s match, Farrell is far more concerned with cementing his place in the Dragons right centre position.

He will partner Gerard Beale in the centres with young gun Charly Runciman waiting in the wings.

‘‘I treat it like round one,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s a lot of people biting at my heels here and I’ve got the position at the moment for this week and I want to try and keep that.’’

The Charity Shield will be one of three matches played at WIN Stadium in a feast of rugby league with the Illawarra Cutters and St George Illawarra’s under-20s side also in actioN.

The Cutters will play the North Sydney Bears while the Dragons’ National Youth Competition side will take on the Rabbitohs. Gates open at 12.30pm.

Matches to be played at WIN Stadium on Saturday:

NSW Cup - Illawarra Cutters v North Sydney Bears (12.45pm)

Under-20s - St George Illawarra v South Sydney (2.45pm)

NRL - St George Illawarra v South Sydney (5pm)

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