DRAGONS flyer Jordan Pereira admits he’s nervous about the prospect of Jarryd Hayne linking with the club – but it’s got nothing to do with competition for spots.
It’s more to do with the accidental boot he planted on Hayne’s face in the Dragons round-22 clash with the Eels last season that required one of the more creative strapping efforts of 2018.
“If he did come down here I just hope he’s not angry that I kicked him the face,” Pereira said.
“Whatever club he goes to I just hope he doesn’t hate me because it was an accident. That’s my only concern, that he doesn’t hate me as a bloke.”
Currently without a club for 2019, Hayne has been linked to St George Illawarra who are battling depleted outside back stocks following the departure of Nene Macdonald and the retirement of Jason Nightingale.
Media reports have suggested the club could look to move on current No. 1 Matt Dufty to accommodate Hayne, but Pereira hasn’t given much weight to the conjecture.
“So many things pop up and right now everything seems like rubbish, I don’t pay attention to any of it,” Pereira said.
“He’s one of my best mates, I love Dufty, I don't want to see him leave. I look at whatever I see as a thumbnail, and I disregard it.
“There’s not too may [outside backs] left. Nene’s left, Gyspy [Nightingale] left, Patty [Herbert] left, Reuben [Garrick] left.
“That’s four [outside backs] that have gone so we’re down a few. We’ve lost more than we’ve gained so I’m sure there’ll be someone turn up at some stage.
“I’m not sure who we’re going to get but if it hasn’t come from the Dragons, it’s not my concern, I just don’t believe it.”
Pereira has little to worry about on the contract front having penned a two-year contract extension after a string of impressive performances in his side’s final nine games of 2018.
It included two finals appearances, and the 25-year-old admits he’s still left pinching himself having only joined the club the day before the transfer deadline in 2017.
“Sometimes I go back and watch those games that I played and think ‘wow, that’s me’,” Pereira said.
“It is still pretty hard to believe and sometimes I have to refresh my memory by watching some footage.
“I thought I was going to have to dust off the old steel caps midway through last year. I thought I was going to have to go back to work.
“My manager wasn’t sure what was going to happen, there weren’t any offers from other clubs.
“I was probably at the bottom of the hierarchy and got one little taste due to some unfortunate injuries.
“Sometimes that’s how you get opportunities and whatever you make of that is in your own hands. I just tried to take it with both of them.”
The cavalcade of outside men who’ve headed for the exit door leaves Pereira one of the last men standing, but he’s far from complacent about holding onto his spot next season.
“I’ve put the pressure on myself that nothing’s going to be given, it’s all got to be earned,” he said.
“2019’s all a clean slate and everything’s up for grabs.
“I’m just going to approach the preseason like I did last year, work my hardest, and make sure I earn that spot.”