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Dragons hooker Cameron McInnes.

New Dragons captain Cameron McInnes admits it sounds harsh but he won't accept any issues away from football as excuses for poor form this year.

The passionate hooker was officially announced on Monday as the successor to Gareth Widdop, who has joined Super League club Warrington.

The 25-year-old rake will aim to lead the club out of turmoil after they came 15th in 2019, with the legal dramas of sidelined forward Jack de Belin proving a distraction.

De Belin's sexual assault trial begins on February 3, just over a month before the season starts.

McInnes declared his team must get on with business in 2020 regardless of the external or personal challenges they may face.

"That's the message I try to get across to everybody: it doesn’t matter what's going on out there, because no one cares," McInnes said.

McInnes named new Dragons captain

"If we lose a game and someone wants to say, 'Oh, my grandma's sick' – I know that's a harsh thing to say but no one cares because we lost the game.

"It's the harsh reality of what we do. You've got to leave your problems at the door. It's not easy to do but life happens, doesn't it?

"Throughout the course of 26 weeks, you're naïve to think that everything's going to be going your way outside footy for the whole year.

"The sooner you realise that you've got to perform under less than ideal circumstances, the better you're going to be. If guys didn't learn that last year, they've got to learn quick."

McInnes will become the second-youngest full-time St George Illawarra skipper after Trent Barrett, but he realises there's plenty of help available in senior representative players like James Graham, Tyson Frizell and Ben Hunt.

Meanwhile, coach Paul McGregor has given McInnes leadership books to study over the summer to prepare for the job.

In terms of playing style, not much will change for McInnes - the simple directive from the coaching staff has been to "go 100% like I do every game".

"The best captains are the ones that show it on the field week in, week out. And that's what I've got to do," McInnes said.

It's not his first experience in charge of a side: he filled in admirably when Widdop was injured last year and captained South Sydney in the under 20s.

"This is a much higher level, but to be honest with you, these guys here are like under 20s players anyway. Footy players don't grow up," McInnes quipped.

And while he can't guarantee fans success, McInnes has promised to give "absolutely everything every game".

"I'll be demanding that of everyone with me as well, as everyone will demand of each other," he said.

"All I know is the boys are hungry, hurt by what happened last year, and there's a lot of people with a lot to play for."

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