Winger Jason Nightingale believes young fullback Adam Quinlan will deliver something ‘‘special’’ in filling the void left by Josh Dugan in the season-opener against Wests on Sunday.
The call follows a disjointed attacking display in the Charity Shield when the Dragons scored only one try, through Nightingale, in the first half.
That performance appears to have cost Sam Williams first crack at the halfback role, with Steve Price opting for the experience of Michael Witt on Sunday.
Only wooden spooners Parramatta scored fewer points than the Dragons in 2013 and the impotent performance against the Rabbitohs prompted more questions, despite the hyped signings of Gareth Widdop and Dylan Farrell.
Nightingale is confident livewire Quinlan can ignite the Dragons’ attack.
‘‘Adam Quinlan is a great player in his own right and I think you’ll see a lot of special moments from him throughout the first few weeks,’’ Nightingale said.
‘‘They’re two totally different styles as far as players go.
‘‘Josh uses power and speed and strength so losing him as far as a ball runner goes will be different.
‘‘Adam’s just as quick, but he’s a bit smaller and relies a lot more on his support play and his ball playing.
‘‘They will be different styles but everyone knows Adam’s game so it’ll be pretty seamless for the people outside him.’’
The match will also see the NRL debut of the club’s new-look centre pairing of Gerard Beale and Dylan Farrell after Beale missed the Charity Shield with a jaw injury.
Nightingale played the bulk of his career outside one of the modern era’s best centre pairings in Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper and backed the current pair to take the club forward.
‘‘Gerard Beale’s played a quite lot of centre and obviously Dylan’s earned the right to be there and he’s done a lot of great things at his previous club.
‘‘It’s nothing new to them, they’re not that young, they’ve got plenty of experience.
‘‘Dylan’s a great talker and brings a lot of enthusiasm.
‘‘He’s got great skills as well so I’m sure I’ll benefit from having him inside me.’’
Nightingale said he and Farrell were looking forward to a tough first-up test against Tigers behemoths Chris Lawrence and Pat Richards.
‘‘They’ve got some powerful outside backs,’’ he said. ‘‘On our side we’ll probably have Chris Lawrence and Pat Richards so their size and experience there should give us a lot of work.’’
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