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Old mates help make McCullough's Dragons move seamless

New Dragons hooker Andrew McCullough only met some of his new teammates 24 hours before taking the field with them in Thursday night's trial, but that won't be the case when he runs out with one of his oldest mates in round one.

McCullough's transition into the Dragons playmaking line-up will be boosted by his long history with halfback Ben Hunt. They played together at the Broncos for nine seasons from 2009 having first paired up on the field as 11-year-olds.

He also spent four years alongside Corey Norman at Brisbane, the club where current Dragons mentor Anthony Griffin was head coach from 2011 to 2014.

While getting the feel for how the rest of the Dragons pack likes to play will take some time, when it comes to building combinations with his halves, he has a big head start.

McCullough comfortably got through 20 minutes in his new side's trial against the Eels on Thursday night in his first footy since rupturing a hamstring for the Knights last July.

Match Highlights: Dragons v Eels

"The ball stuff and combinations won't take as long because I've played with Benny and Normy a fair bit," he said.

"The Benny one will be easy for me and Normy as well. Forwards-wise they'll take a bit of time and gelling but certainly with regards to having Benny and Normy there it will come a lot easier than it would with other clubs.

"It helps having Hook as the coach as well. Benny's an easy one. We've been together since we were 11.

NRL Trials: Dragons v Eels

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"That will click into gear a lot quicker than the forwards but if we don't hang onto the ball and complete well we'll be on the back foot.

"[It's about learning] what people want, different expectations than what I want. It's a long year. For me personally it's about getting my defence right early then the same again next week.

"I just met some of the guys 24 hours ago. [The trial] certainly was just that contact, having a little blow and having that first game, obviously it's been a little while for me.

"It was good to get back out that and have that run and be better for it."

Despite it being an injury comeback, McCullough said he was totally unfazed about his hamstring given the injury was originally from being caught up in a tackle rather than straining it while running.

"I was pretty relaxed, there wasn't any drama with it," he said.

"The way I got caught, it wasn't like I was sprinting, it was just one of those freak things that I got caught. I was pretty happy, I just got into it. 

"It's been good, I've been back full training for a while now. Obviously not here at the Dragons but at the Broncos I was doing everything possible, the staff there did a really good job to get me back in good shape."

Feagai brothers coast to coast effort gives us the opener

McCullough expected to lift his minutes significantly in next Saturday's Charity Shield trial against the Rabbitohs in Mudgee.

"Probably a lot more. I'm not too sure. Maybe the hour mark. We'll see how it goes, I got through 20 or 25 [against the Eels]," he said.

"The intensity will pick up again next week with full squads. I was pretty happy to get that one done."

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