Dragons left in the dark on line-up
As the Dragons prepare to take part in the expanded World Club Challenge this weekend, hooker Mitch Rein has revealed the players have no idea who coach Paul McGregor will pick in his starting 17 for Round 1 of the NRL in just two week's time.
While the 20-man squad named to play Warrington on Saturday morning (Australian time) might have revealed a few of Mary's preferences, especially when it comes to the makeup of the Dragons' three-quarter line, Rein insisted McGregor has remained tightlipped about his thought process heading into the NRL season.
"Mary has played his cards pretty close to his chest, so everyone is really waiting to get through the trials to put their hand up and see where we're going," Rein told NRL.com.
"There have been a lot of new faces who have come in here and I'm sure they're looking forward to having a crack at making their way into our top 17 too.
"Thankfully the pre-season is coming to an end, so it's really good we're starting to get back into playing and hopefully it'll all sort itself out."
As McGregor continues practicing his poker face, uncertainty still looms over Rein himself and where his place in the team lies.
While Rein has been accustomed to playing 80 minutes out of dummy-half, his game time was shortened last season when McGregor opted to have either Kyle Stanley or Shane Pumipi on the interchange to back up the 24-year-old rake.
Despite Stanley and Pumipi's departures from the club, the pressure on Rein's hooking spot has not ceased with former Holden Cup hooker Craig Garvey remaining at the Red V and premiership winning veteran Heath L'Estrange signing on from the Roosters.
L'Estrange told NRL.com previously that he didn't sign with the Dragons to play in NSW Cup, but Rein isn't worried about his teammates gunning for his place in the team.
"It is good to have a bit of competition for spots so you can keep pushing yourself to improve," Rein said.
"It's just been a matter where we've pushed ourselves real hard to try and get the best out of one another so it has been a good challenge.
"I know I'm capable of playing 80 minutes, but whatever Mary wants is what's best for the team. I guess that's what has got to be done to keep the team moving forward."
With his 100th NRL game in reach, Rein is looking to further build on his performances from last season where he earned a maiden representative jumper in the Country Origin team.
An absolute rock in the middle of the park for the Dragons, Rein averaged 39 tackles per game in his 22 appearances.
"I was pretty happy with my season last year. The only thing that was really inconsistent was my performances. I'd have a good game here and there but then an average game in between, so that's one thing I want to improve on week-in, week-out," Rein said.
"It's the one thing which comes with experience though, you know? Just being a bit more patient and making the right decisions under pressure and fatigue all the time so that'll hopefully come with experience.
"Last year I was working towards that so I'm looking forward to testing myself again."