St George Illawarra centre Dylan Farrell admits he owes everything to former club South Sydney but will put sentiment to one side when he runs out against the Rabbitohs at the SCG on Saturday.
Farrell was one of several new signings made by the Dragons this season and although yet to score for his new club, he’s been an impressive performer in their strong start to the campaign.
The 22-year-old joined Souths when he was 16 and played alongside Adam Reynolds in the halves for the club’s under-20s side.
He made a stunning NRL debut in 2010, scoring a hat-trick of tries against the Wests Tigers to seal a come-from-behind 34-30 golden point victory.
But despite that auspicious start to his career, injury and form saw him drift in and out of the side last year and he was dropped by coach Michael Maguire when it was announced he’d signed for the Dragons.
Farell diplomatically plays down the timing of his axing and said he has nothing but respect for his former coach.
“My final year wasn’t the best,” Farrell told AAP.
“But there was no dramas with Madge (Maguire), my form wasn’t great and I was dropped. Obviously it was disappointing, but coaches have to make tough decisions.
“But I loved my time with Souths and all my coaches I played under have helped me develop into the player I am now. For that I will always be grateful.”
Farell admits it was a tough decision to leave Souths but the lure of playing for the Dragons was too hard to resist for someone who grew up in Nowra on the NSW South Coast.
“It was the chance to come home and be closer to my family,” he said.
“I played all my grand finals as a kid at WIN Stadium and the place holds a lot of special memories.
“The Dragons are a club on the rise and the chance to be part of a team that’s building for the future is something that was too good to turn down.”
Farrell admits it will be strange coming up against so many close friends but said the satisfaction of inflicting a fourth successive win over the Rabbitohs would be huge.
“Guys like Reyno (Reynolds), Nathan Merritt and John Sutton are good mates and I do still keep in touch with a lot of the boys,” he said.
“They’ve had a few bad results, but they are still a great team. It would be huge for us if we can beat them.”