Nene Macdonald adapts to switch back to left
St George Illawarra winger Nene Macdonald is just as happy on the left wing as the right and is more than comfortable with an off-season side swap with opposite flanker Jason Nightingale.
Macdonald played almost exclusively on the right edge last season, where he scored all six of his tries. He played outside Euan Aitken (or Kurt Mann or Josh Dugan when Aitken was unavailable) with Tim Lafai and Jason Nightingale combining on the left.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor looks to have pulled a switch with Nightingale set to link with Aitken on the right in 2018 with Macdonald to get a run outside offload machine Lafai.
"I've been training on the left," said Macdonald, who registered a two-try performance on the left flank in a trial against Hull FC last Saturday night.
"Me and 'Gypsy' (Nightingale) swapped around a bit last year.
"I played all on the left when I was at the Titans and then at Roosters I played left and right so it doesn't really bother me where I play.
"If I play left that's exciting, it's a bit of a change for me and we'll see how I go."
While new halfback Ben Hunt and a fully fit Aitken should hopefully ensure more attacking flair on the Dragons' right edge this year, Macdonald believes he can thrive outside attacking maestros Lafai and Gareth Widdop on the left.
"With Gaz on the left, he and Laf have formed a very good relationship between each other so it will be a good little combo. Me and Euey are very close as well so it will be exciting to see how we go," Macdonald added.
"That's what I'm hoping for [receiving more quality ball], they're two completely different centres, Euan's more of a runner, he's hard to contain and tackle and Lafs is very good at drawing in players and offloading and passing so they're two completely different centres so I'm pretty excited to see what happens this year."
Even getting back on the field against Hull was an achievement for Macdonald after an injury-disrupted pre-season following his World Cup campaign with Papua New Guinea.
"I haven't been running too much [due to a knee injury]," Macdonald said.
"I had a few niggles after the World Cup. In the England game (a 36-6 quarter-final loss) I hurt my knee which had given me a bit of trouble last year.
"I missed the first couple of weeks of training but the last couple of weeks I've been running out with the boys so it's been really enjoyable and got me a bit more hungry."