After watching Cameron McInnes pull off yet another try-saving tackle on Sunday, retiring Dragons forward Jeremy Latimore is confident the hooker is the man to lead the club back to the NRL finals in the coming years.
McInnes' drive to do everything he can for his team was on show in the loss to the Sharks, the hooker managing to stop a charging Bronson Xerri, who looked certain to score.
The tackle received wide praise from McInnes' Dragons teammates, with Latimore saying his efforts are inspiring to watch.
"He's one of the players who, just at training, he's always 100 per cent," Latimore said. "He cares so much, he works so hard and you can see that coming off in how he plays.
"There was the Rabbitohs game where he does the charge down and sprints 40 metres up the field after playing 70-odd minutes and beats two outside backs to the ball.
"Then on the weekend, I don't think you'd find many players in the NRL who could make that tackle.
"Cam, who's not trained to tackle like that, one-on-one on the line, it was an unbelievable effort. It's a shame we couldn't get the win and look back on that as a massive play in the game."
While his Dragons teammates, and even Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk, were quick to shower the hooker with praise, McInnes has spent little time celebrating the tackle.
Instead, in his drive to continually improve his game, the 25-year-old has focused on the error he made shortly afterwards.
"I knew it was coming and I was lucky to get underneath the ball," McInnes said. "Unfortunately though, we worked our way back up the field, then I threw an offload on tackle two and they were straight back down there.
"That was the story of our night, coming up with plays for each other, then putting ourselves back under pressure. We need to be much better there."
"That's where I need to get better going forward, my footy smarts, making the right play at the right time. The best hookers do that, they don't put their sides back under pressure, that's what I need to be working towards."
Since his arrival at the club in 2017, McInnes has developed into a future captain.
Contracted until the end of 2021, the Dragons are planning on building their future around McInnes and the effort and commitment he brings to every match.
While McInnes simply shrugs off such efforts as a routine part of his job, Latimore said St George Illawarra will have a very bright future with the hooker leading the club throughout the next decade.
"He's a future captain," Latimore said. "He's all heart, someone everyone in the team looks to follow and he tries his hardest every week.
"Even after the game, you can see how devastated and frustrated he was with the way we played. He's definitely a leader, he's only 25 years of age, he's got another 10 years of doing this.
"With a player like him leading the club, the club's going to be in good stead."
Latimore's comments come as he prepares for his final game in Kogarah before he hangs up the boots at the end of the season.
Coach Paul McGregor named his 21-man squad for the clash against the Roosters on Saturday night, with both Ben Hunt and Tyson Frizell listed to start, despite suffering head knocks on Sunday.
Jonus Pearson returns to the wing, with Mikaele Ravalawa moving to the reserves, while Jackson Ford will start in jumper No. 11.
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