Frizell's big year a welcome surprise
2016 will be remembered for a lot of things, but for Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizell it was the year he established himself as a fixture of the representative scene for many years to come.
Starting the season with 70 NRL games, five appearances for Wales and a lone Country Origin match under his belt, the blockbusting forward went on to play in State of Origin II and III for NSW and earned four Test caps for Australia.
Back at St George Illawarra's Wollongong training base following and post-Four Nations holiday in Europe, Frizell said he wasn't expecting 2016 to pan out the way it did - particularly considering he had started the season plagued by a back complaint.
"It wasn't really the season that I thought would happen, it's something you're kind of hopeful, but didn't really think I'd end up at the stage I'm at now which I'm very grateful for," Frizell told Dragons TV.
"It has been a massive long year, it's time for me to kick back and relax because it's been such a big year for the Dragons and also being on tour too."
While he won't return to the training paddock with the rest of his Dragons teammates until after the Christmas break, Frizell said it was important to check in with the club staff and cast an eye over the club's new recruits.
Paul Vaughan, Nene Macdonald and Cameron McInnes headline St George Illawarra's key acquisitions for 2017, with the club's 2016 player of the year pleased with the little he's seen of the rest of the squad.
"I had a little break after the Four Nations, I've just come down to see the boys and 'Pickers' (Dragons head of athletic performance Nathan Pickworth) as well, and do a couple of medical things," Frizell said.
"There's a couple of new boys, I haven't watched too much [of pre-season training]. I've heard a lot of good things about the boys ripping in and stuff like that which is good to hear, it's what you want to be doing at this time of year.
"[I've got] a bit more time off to relax, and hopefully I'll come back fresh and ready to go in January."