Departing Dragons playmaker Drew Hutchison admits he “wants something more” than the prospect of another season without NRL action.
Just 12 months ago, Hutchison was to be handed first shot at the Dragons No.7 jersey after Benji Marshall’s exit, only to suffer an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury at pre-season training.
During his road to recovery, the Dragons signed Broncos, Queensland and Australian representative playmaker Ben Hunt, a further hurdle to Hutchison establishing his career in the NRL.
And so, the Albion Park junior will fly to England on Monday to play with recently Super League-relegated club Leigh.
“I was coming off contract this year, so that was sort of another disappointing factor to my injury,” Hutchison told Fairfax Media.
“But I’d sort of spent a lot of years in reserve grade and I sorted of wanted more.
“And I sort of wanted to go to England, I want to base a team around be the main man in charge.
“It’s a really good opportunity to go over there and play over there and play against other opposition.”
However, Hutchison is adamant he wants another shot at the NRL, after playing just four games in the past three years with the Dragons.
“Yeah for sure, I’d like to,” he said.
“But for now I’m going to concentrate on playing for Leigh.”
Hutchison kicked the field goal which sealed the Illawarra Cutters’ 2016 NSW Premiership grand final.
They then thrashed Queensland champions Burleigh 54-12 to win the interstate challenge, played on NRL grand final day.
The now 22-year-old made his NRL debut in 2015 against the Sharks, only receiving the call up the day before the game when Marshall suffered a hamstring injury.
Hutchison said he vividly remembers the knee injury which cost him a chance at launching his NRL career.
“I can remember the exact blade of grass it happened on as well,” he said.
“It was probably the worst news, being told you’re going to be out for the season pretty much.
‘’…To be honest I carried on a bit I think , I thought I might have broken my leg, to be honest.”
Leigh coach Neil Jukes expects Hutchison can help lift the club back into the Super League comeptition, playing alongside other NRL players Peter Mata’utia and Bodene Thompson.
"Drew is an outstanding signing for Leigh Centurions," said head coach Neil Jukes. "He is a very highly rated and exceedingly talented half-back.”