Dragons have exciting future: De Belin
St George Illawarra Dragons lock forward Jack de Belin says his decision to re-sign with the Red V for a further three seasons was a no-brainer given the direction the club is heading.
The Cootamundra Bulldogs junior made 41 appearances for the Dragons in the NYC and has been a mainstay in the NRL side since making his first-grade debut in 2011.
The hard-working lock will remain at the club until at least the end of 2020, with many tipping him to add to his representative résumé after he made his NSW Country debut in 2016.
"It was a pretty easy decision for me. I've been here for a long time now. I love the club and I love living in Wollongong so it's a great honour to be able to re-sign with the Dragons for another three years," de Belin said.
"I've been here for honestly that long now - it's going on 10 years pretty soon. I obviously wanted to stay, and at the same time you want to test your value and see where you're at, but as I said, it was a pretty easy decision and I didn't even bother to do that.
"I just got the contract out of the way so I could focus on playing some good footy and have a good year with the Dragons."
De Belin's decision to re-commit is a sign the playing group is buying into the new culture following last year's underwhelming campaign that saw them finish 11th on the ladder and with the second-worst attack in the Telstra Premiership.
"Looking ahead I think we've got some good days and that obviously made my decision a lot easier," he said.
"There's a really good culture at the moment. It's a great place to be around at the moment.
"After last year it wasn't the best of years and there was a big review and a lot of things were put in place to change that. All the boys have bought in well and the culture that we've got now is unbelievable. The boys are tighter than ever."
The signing news is a massive boost after the Dragons were humbled in front of their home fans by the Parramatta Eels on Sunday night.
While the result itself wasn't overly shocking, the magnitude of the 34-16 defeat left many people surprised after their huge Round 1 win over the Panthers.
"It was pretty disappointing, to be quite honest. I don't think anyone expected that kind of performance to be tossed up," de Belin said.
"It was a weird game. It kind of felt like we were never in it and we were forever chasing our tails. We kind of got back in there but then we weren't really in there and then we let them in with easy tries.
"We were riding pretty high after Round 1 so I suppose that was a little reality check that kind of brought us back down to earth a little bit. It's only Round 2 so it's early in the year so we can take a lot of lessons from that."