Newly re-signed utility Jayden Sullivan says he never had any intentions to leave St George Illawarra, despite speculation swirling about his potential departure.
Sullivan, alongside fellow young guns Tyrell Sloan and Junior Amone, whet the appetite of red v fans with breakout performances towards the end of the club's rollercoaster 2021 campaign.
The Wests Devils junior had been linked to several clubs during the off-season, including NRL newbies the Dolphins, but ended the rumours by signing a fresh three-year deal last week.
The contract means the 20-year-old will stay in Wollongong until at least the end of the 2025 season.
"I love the club, they gave me my opportunity a few years back and I just want to repay them and put my best foot forward for the club," Sullivan said.
"My whole family lives down here, I'm a big family man, so I'm not sure I would have coped with moving somewhere else. When we moved to Brisbane for the bubble situation, the first opportunity I got, I was on the first plane home.
"I definitely didn't think about leaving."
Sullivan was promoted to the Dragons first grade squad in 2019. He impressed on his NRL debut the following year, setting up the final try in a 30-22 victory over the Storm at Kogarah.
His second senior opportunity came this year when he lined up at five-eighth in St George Illawarra's round 19 loss to Gold Coast, retaining the jersey for the next game against South Sydney.
Sullivan then spent a fortnight out of the team, before hooker Andrew McCullough's serious ankle injury opened the door for him to fill in at dummy half for the red v's final three games.
The off-season departures of Corey Norman and Adam Clune has opened the door for Sullivan to become Ben Hunt's halves partner.
"I'll play anywhere but obviously (I'd prefer) if I can play in the halves. I've only trained at six. if I play six, I play six, but I'll play anywhere," Sullivan said.
"I want to put my best foot forward and do what's best for the team. 'Macca' is a good person to learn from, as is 'Dozer' (Hunt), and so was 'Normy' when he was here. Hopefully I can play some decent football and stay in the 17 each week."
The Sullivan announcement comes on the back of Mat and Max Feagai re-committing to the Dragons in early November. With Sloan and Amone also remaining under contract, Andrew McCullough believes it's been an exciting time for the club.
"As an older player now, I think you get a bit of energy and bit of a kick from those guys. It's all fresh and exciting for them," he said.
"They just come in with a can-do attitude and rip in. They don't think about making mistakes or getting things wrong, they just want to come in and have some fun with their mates. I think that rubs off on the older guys and they're good kids off the field as well."
I love the club, they gave me my opportunity a few years back and I just want to repay them... I didn't think about leaving.- Jayden Sullivan
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