Frizell back at Dragons after Welsh campaign

Tyson Frizell is preparing to spend more time in the middle this season. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER
Tyson Frizell is preparing to spend more time in the middle this season. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER


Tyson Frizell had a minor headache trying to understand his Welsh teammates at the World Cup but reckons it is a no-brainer compared to the selection puzzle now confronting Steve Price.

Refreshed after an off-season spent helping the Welsh at the World Cup, the 22-year-old went from group to group getting to know one another.

Frizell was the only player with NRL experience in Iestyn Harris's squad which went winless in the tournament.

He quietly slipped back into St George Illawarra's preseason rigours armed with a contract extension.

Frizell knows there will be no guarantees in a squad set to start jockeying for positions in a trial match against a combined Illawarra Cutters/Mudgee Dragons side at Kogarah on Friday.

"There was a bunch of new faces - as soon as I came back in, there was a different kind of atmosphere which was a good thing, too," he said.

"There are a lot of spots up for grabs and definitely a lot of depth.

"It's going to be a bit of a headache for Pricey to pick the team - which is a good thing - and it's going to push the boys to train more and play harder."

Having forged his reputation as a wide-running ball-runner, Frizell hinted that the Dragons' army of back-rowers may force him to spend more time in the middle this season.

He's already added some bulk to his frame, which was nursed back into training after a short break before Christmas.

"I had a couple of weeks off and I didn't want to sit around and do nothing, which can be a bad thing, but they eased me back into part-time training before Christmas," he said.

"I've put on an extra few kilos this year and whether they want me to play in the middle as well as back row is up to Pricey.

"That's what we're looking at ... to either play on the edge or have that extra weight so I can play in the middle."

Had fate guided Frizell in another direction, the former Shark may have stepped onto Millennium Stadium as a Wallaby instead of in the Welsh red in the World Cup opener.

He played for Australian Schoolboys in rugby union but qualified to play for Wales through his Swansea-born father after his switch to rugby league.

Yet it didn't help him try to understand the thick accents of his teammates, who hailed from all over Wales - and England.

"There was a lot of banter between the Welsh and the Poms," Frizell said.

"You go a little bit down the street, they will have a different accent and it was kind of hard to know where the boys were from because they were so hard to understand.

"[But] they love playing for Wales and there's a lot of passion that goes into that team.

"I was born [in Australia] and maybe one day I would love to play [for them].

"It's the ultimate goal one day to get there but at the moment I'm enjoying myself playing for Wales."


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