Following an impressive man-of-the-match performance from George Rose for the Indigenous All Stars, his new clubmate Trent Merrin says he'll be hoping to see more of the same from the big man in 2015.
Rose joined the Dragons from the Storm at the end of 2014 in a move fans will be hoping alleviates criticism that the club is lacking size in the forward pack.
After a pre-season preparation heavily restricted by thumb surgery that forced Rose to do more cardio than he would usually like, he returned with a bang with a massive effort against a huge NRL All Stars pack boasting Test props James Graham, Jesse Bromwich and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
"He killed it out there tonight," Merrin told NRL.com after being one of the players on the receiving end of the vintage Rose performance.
"Very exciting for Georgie come out there and perform like he did, that will definitely be a bonus for us this year."
Merrin said while it was clear Rose still had the fire in the belly, it was also his maturity as a top-level performer that would be an asset for the Dragons in 2015.
"He knows how [the NRL] is played and he's been around for a while so he brings that leadership to the boys. It's been a tough pre-season and he really ripped in, he was coming off injury, he had an operation on his thumb in the pre-season and once he got on the field he's been tearing in and it just goes to show what this game meant to him and how far he's come.
"Now I've seen what he can do I'll most definitely be pushing for it."
Merrin added Rose knows how to use his big frame to best effect. "He times things well; he puts himself in the position to do what he did. He had a blinder out there tonight."
Merrin and Rose had little time to commiserate/celebrate the result of the All Stars match before jumping on a plane to England to join their teammates for the World Club Series, with the Dragons to face the Warrington Wolves on Saturday morning Australian time.
Merrin said the team should be better prepared in the forwards in 2015 and their final pre-season hit-out would be the culmination of that preparation ahead of a Round 1 meeting against the Storm at Jubilee Oval on Monday March 9.
"We've recruited some big boys in the middle and we've trained them hard in pre-season. Coming off the Charity Shield which was a success to us and me and Georgie had a good hit-out out there [in the All Stars match], we'll put it all together in England and see how it all goes," Merrin said.
"It's a massive trip before the season starts but it's also a big test for us to go over there and play some big boys, it's going to be a big test. I think the boys are all really excited. Me and Georgie didn't get to see them before they left but there was a good buzz amongst the group, we get to break things up in the pre-season and go to a country where the boys haven't been yet but it's definitely a big buzz and we're all looking forward to it."