RUGBY LEAGUE - DRAGONS
Dragons young gun Nathan Green has turned to skipper Ben Creagh for advice as he looks to make the same switch to the back-row that earned his skipper state and Test jumpers.
The 22-year-old has spent his entire career as an outside back but came off the bench in his new guise as a back-rower in the Dragons loss to Manly on Monday after being challenged to make the switch by coach Paul McGregor two weeks ago.
He made light work of the move in his first game in the pack, scoring a hat-trick of tries as he skippered the Illawarra Cutters to a 46-12 thumping of Manly in the NSW Cup.
He followed with another try in the Cutters 26-0 win over Newcastle seven days later before earning a last-minute call-up to the top grade against the Sea Eagles and he has again been named on an extended bench for Sunday’s match with the Tigers.
McGregor has shown a willingness to think outside the box since taking over as coach, switching Josh Dugan from fullback to centre with great success.
Green’s newfound ability to play in the forwards while providing cover for injuries in the outside backs could prove a handy ingredient in the Dragons’ run at the finals.
‘‘Mary asked me a couple of weeks ago if I’d like to shift into the back-row and give that a crack,’’ Green said.
‘‘I’ve played the last two weeks in the back-row for the Cutters and he said I’d be a chance to play off the bench to play a bit of back-row and if someone goes down in the outside backs obviously I can play there too.’’
‘‘I was a bit reluctant in the beginning. I’d never played there so it’s a completely new role, but once the challenge got laid out out to me I accepted it and just thought I needed to do the best I can.
‘‘It was the best fit for the team and for the Cutters as well. I’m really enjoying the back-row now ... hopefully I can keep improving
‘‘I’m trying to get as much help as I can off guys who’ve played back-row, especially Ben Creagh because he’s done the same thing - gone from wing into the back-row,’’ Green said.
‘‘He’s done it before so I’m looking to get pointers off him.
‘‘[Defensive coach] Matt Cooper’s helped me a lot because the defence is a bit different but I’m really enjoying the role.’’