Quinlan starting to build in confidence in Dragons finals hopes

Dragons centre-turned-fullback Adam Quinlan competes with the Tigers' Mitchell Moses in last Sunday's match. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Dragons centre-turned-fullback Adam Quinlan competes with the Tigers' Mitchell Moses in last Sunday's match. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

He prefers to fly under the radar but Dragons fullback Adam Quinlan knows he has to fire if the Dragons are to be any chance of scraping into the finals.

Quinlan has played the past eight consecutive games at the back for the Dragons - his longest stint in the top grade - after coach Paul McGregor showed enough faith in the 21-year-old to shift Josh Dugan to the centres to accommodate him.

With specialist right-centre Dylan Farrell now out for the year after suffering his second pectoral tear in four months, it's looking more and more like a long-term gig.

Quinlan refuses to see it that way.

But after admitting he struggled with the responsibility early on, he said a heart-to-heart conversations with McGregor and other senior players have left him confident in the NRL.

"Certainly my position isn't safe - you've got to perform week in, week out to hold a spot there - but this is the longest I've played in the top grade consistently and I'm starting to really feel at home there," Quinlan said.

"Last week the confidence was down a bit but through the week I spoke to a few of the older boys and the coach and they were really helpful and got me in a good mind-set for last week and going forward.

"I was feeling a little bit flat and I just had a word to a few of the boys and they didn't say too much, but what they said was really helpful.

"I think it's all part of it [NRL]. I'm only fresh to it and they've been around a lot longer than me, so the more they help me out the better but I'm much more confident in everything now."

Quinlan said McGregor had challenged him to back himself in the Dragons' run to the finals that sees them needing to win four of their last six games to make the play-offs.

"He just said you're there for a reason - you've got to back yourself and back your ability.

"And for a little bit there I wasn't doing that," Quinlan said.

"On the weekend I tried to do that more and more and back myself as much as I can.

"The coach and all the players are showing confidence in me, so I've just got to show it in myself and back myself if I see something."

McGregor said, following the Tigers' win, that he had demanded more from his back seven following an unconvincing showing against Manly the previous week.

They responded with 28 points. And Quinlan said that, with combinations now settled, the Dragons have the backline to match it with the NRL's best.

"Combinations are starting to gel really well now," Quinlan said.

"I've got a lot of quality players around me and they do all the tough stuff and lay it on a platter for me, so it's good."