Dragons centurion still a student of the game
If you head down to Dragons training you'll notice that more often than not the last two men on the paddock will be coach Paul McGregor and the club's newest centurion Jack de Belin.
De Belin is always quite open when discussing his development as a player to NRL.com, which is obviously heightened when it comes to his regular deep discussions with McGregor.
The 25-year-old de Belin said it's only been in the past two seasons – coincidentally McGregor's only two full years as head coach – where he has started to realise his potential, where he was duly rewarded with his maiden Country Origin jersey in May.
De Belin will become the 21st player to reach 100 games for St George Illawarra when the club faces the Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon at ANZ Stadium.
"I always had that belief in myself but it's only been the past year and a bit or so that I've finally started to show what I'm capable of," de Belin said.
"I've always been strong defensively but it's my offensive game that's had to take off a little bit. It was only a matter of time and hopefully I can just keep getting better.
"Mary's really helped develop my game and been able to help me take my game to the next level too in that sense," de Belin added, who is averaging 108 metres and 40 tackles per game in 2016.
"You always want to have a good relationship with your coach and he's really good in that regard. He's a fantastic coach and because of that he's easy to talk to."
On his milestone, de Belin expressed how much the Dragons – a club he's been at since he was 18 – means to him.
"As a young fella, if you asked a majority of players they'd say they'd be stoked with playing just one NRL game. I would have even been stoked with one game too, so to be able to play 100 is pretty special," de Belin said.
"The club means a lot to me. I love living here in the Illawarra. To be able to don that Red V every week, despite results not going our way of late, it's always such a massive honour and privilege."
The Cootamundra Bulldogs junior will rack up his latest milestone against the Tigers. It's a club he admittedly supported as a child with his grandfather, former Kangaroos representative Fred de Belin, a Balmain legend.
"You never kinda know what you're going to get from the Tigers. They can attack from anywhere on the field and they're not afraid to play footy at you, so you have to make sure you're turning up at every play," de Belin said.
"They're a tough ask, and I feel they're starting to hit a bit of form too, it's our season on the line so we'll need to want it more."