Dragons centre Zac Lomax is drawing on learnings from last year’s NSW Origin camp as he and Fijian winger Mikaele Ravalawa seek to form a potent right edge combination.
Lomax did not play during last year’s State of Origin series but was a member of the Blues extended squad and spent four weeks observing how the likes of Boyd Cordner and James Tedesco train and prepare for matches.
"The thing I took out of it was just about how to be a full-time professional," Lomax said ahead of Sunday night’s clash with Cronulla at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
"That’s the way the older boys are and that is how you need to be to get to the highest level.
"It is a fulltime gig and there are no days off. Every training session you are there to get better."
The 21-year-old has approached each session under new coach Anthony Griffin trying to be the best trainer at the Dragons.
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Lomax knows that he needs to playing well for St George Illawarra in order to achieve a goal of running out in a Blues jersey in the middle of the season.
"I loved it [the Origin scene]. I went in there just trying to be a sponge and I was happy to just carry the bags for everyone. I just wanted to learn as much as I could and I definitely took so much out of it.
"To watch everyone prepare for the biggest games of the year was unbelievable and it makes you want it a little bit more.
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"To be honest I just need to come back and be the best player I can for the Dragons. First and foremost that is what is going to get me there.
“I can bring a bit of confidence back here but if you look at everyone in that NSW team, they are consistently playing good football and that is what I want to do,” Lomax said.
"I was lucky enough I got to spend a fair bit of time with Friz, and people like Teddy and Boydo - even though Boydo was only there for the first game - just to see the way they went about it was unbelievable.
"I want to be one of those good players who can consistently play good football week in and week out. That’s what they do and that is why they are playing State of Origin."
The Dragons have a crop of promising young backs coming through their ranks and Lomax is leading the way for the likes of Cody Ramsey, Jayden Sullivan, Mat and Max Feagai, Shaun Sauni-Esau and Tyrell Sloan.
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Ravalawa is also just 23 and has made 35 NRL appearances in the past two seasons, mostly playing outside Lomax.
The pair are developing a combination on the right edge that Lomax believes can become one of the best in the NRL.
"Mika is unreal and when he is firing he is, in my opinion, one of the best wingers in the comp," Lomax said. "There were tries that he finished last year that not many other wingers could have scored.
"He is a different talent, Mika, and I think when you verse him you are looking to see where he is coming from in defence.
"I know from doing some training against him you are always looking for him because when he hits you, you stay hit."