Consistency, Defence Garrick’s Focus
He admits he's not quite at NRL level yet, but regular communication with Dragons head coach Paul McGregor has talented centre Reuben Garrick on the right path.
Garrick, who represented the NSW Under-20 side in 2016 and 2017 and has since made the step up to the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, is one of several bright prospects in the Dragons' backs, alongside fellow centre and recent NRL debutant Zac Lomax. Garrick would like to join him in the top grade – and a pre-season discussion with Paul McGregor has refined his focus.
"When I sat down with Mary [McGregor], we set out some goals for myself, which we have been continually re-evaluating and will continue to do so this season going forward," Garrick told the Illawarra Mercury in February. "We both know how important it is to stay focused and keep on track."
More than three months later, McGregor is still having an impact on the Intrust Super Premiership side as he looks to encourage further development within his emerging players. A well-documented dressing down three weeks ago sparked the side into two consecutive wins.
"I think he just said that you need to be more consistent," Garrick told NSWRL.com.au after Saturday's loss to the Warriors. "Our start of the season wasn't very good, we lost a few at the start and I guess we went on a bit of a streak.
"You need to be consistent week in, week out – especially if guys are looking for spots in the first grade side when they're going so well as well. It's just being more consistent and focusing on defence, because we know we can attack.
"That was the main message from Paul."
McGregor has had an influence on both a team and individual level, leaving Garrick certain about where he needs to improve. After an outstanding performance in Round 10, the Gerringong Lions junior had a quieter game last week.
"Last week I felt like I had a decent game but this week I just didn't think I was up to scratch," Garrick admitted. "I guess it was the Warriors' defence as well, we didn't really get much early ball out wide.
"Going forward I need to try and increase my involvement and make my one-on-one tackles stronger. I've got a bit of improving to do."
The Warriors, who lifted into sixth position, did a good job of containing the Dragons one month after producing the same result over the Mat Head-coached side in Auckland.
"It was very frustrating at times, we had a lot of field position and a lot of the ball, so we should've capitalised," Garrick said. "Credit to the Warriors though, because they were 'D'ing us up pretty well and putting pressure on guys like 'Fieldy' (Jai Field) and Darren Nicholls and cutting off the threats.
"I thought when they ran out of subs with about 20 minutes to go, that we would just start to run away with it a bit – but credit to them again, they just kept showing up."
The Dragons next face the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium in Round 12 – a side which they comfortably beat in Round 4. It will kick off at 11.45am on Sunday, broadcast live on Fox League.