LAST season Daniel Harrison achieved almost all he could in the Toyota Cup. Member of the Toyota Cup Team of the Year? Tick. The Bulldogs’ Toyota Cup Player of the Year? Tick. Captaincy of his team? Tick. And that’s just the reason why he’s got his eyes on a bigger prize this year.
“My aim for the 2009 season is to get at least one game in first grade,” Harrison says.
“I’m training with the top squad at the moment and we’ve been to camp in Kiama which was unbelievable. I’m in the fulltime train-on squad now so I’m completely focusing on football.”
The red-headed back-rower, known for his tenacious defence and never-say-die attitude, was surprised all the accolades at the end of the under-20s’ inaugural season fell at his feet.
“It was a pretty good feeling, I didn’t expect it at all,” he says. “I was really happy with the way I played and to get the captaincy [of the Toyota Cup team] was unreal.”
“It would’ve been my best year since playing the game.”
You’re studying to become an electrician – how are you coping with fulltime training too?
I’m still continuing doing TAFE one day a week but I don’t get the time to do the hands-on stuff I used to. I’m pretty happy just playing and training with the NRL squad at the moment and I can look at that later if and when the time comes.
Juggling your time must’ve been pretty difficult last season; how did you cope?
It was alright… but a bit tough at the start. Eventually I found my routine and managed my time to make it easier. I’d wake up, go to work then go to training… it was full-on but I got my head around it and it eventually became easier!
Last season [Bulldogs Toyota Cup coach] Andy Patmore said you needed to put on weight to challenge for first grade – how are you going with that?
I’ve put on about three kilos in the off-season since I’ve started training with first grade so my weight’s getting up there. We’ve got a weight program here that’s tailored to suit each player and my target area is the thighs. My diet hasn’t really changed that much, mainly just about getting more protein and carbs into me so I can continue to bulk up. I’m trying to eat six meals a day – it can get tough, sometimes you don’t reach your target… but obviously I’m very happy to do it!
In 2007 and 2008 you lived in a house with seven other young Bulldogs. Are you still living there?
I’ve moved away now, out to Westmead, with Nathan Smith, another guy I used to live with in the house. It’s a lot different now – you’ve got to fend for yourself and cook and clean, so it’s a big change!
Obviously 2009 is an exciting year for you. How are you developing?
I’m learning heaps under Kevvie [Moore] and everyone is just happy to help out. Andrew Ryan has a big impact and has helped me out heaps, as has Mick Ennis and Michael Hodgson. I was pretty excited when I found out I was going to be included in the train-on side with some of the big signings the club got in the off-season – I used to see them play on TV and it’s a great feeling to be amongst them on the paddock.