LOOKING BACK: George Rose (right) takes part in a Melbourne Storm training session last year.
LOOKING BACK: George Rose (right) takes part in a Melbourne Storm training session last year. GETTY IMAGES

Rose is hoping to bloom at Dragons

DRAGONS recruit George Rose is desperate for a good season, not only to atone for a disappointing one at the Storm last year but because 2015 could well be his last in the NRL.

Rose, who turns 32 in March, only wanted a one-year contract at the Red V.

That was after he made just nine appearances with the Melbourne Storm last season, constantly battling homesickness being away from his tight-knit family, which was never a problem for him while at the Sea Eagles.

Thankfully the cult figure has been impressed with the players and coaches at Wollongong, and, just as importantly, said he had felt back at home at the Dragons during the pre-season.

"I'm happy to have signed a one-year contract because at this stage I just want to take it year by year, and talk about my future at the end of the season," the Indigenous All Star pick told APN.

"I'm very proud to be playing for the Dragons this year though. The culture at the club is a very positive one. I'm very happy to be back up here (in Sydney) around my support network and hopefully that means I'll play better footy this year."

Of more immediate concern to the giant front-rower was tomorrow's trial game against the Mackay Cutters in the north Queensland city.

After the Dragons' forward pack was roundly criticised last season, and even called soft at times, Rose said he could not wait to change that perception, starting with the pre-season fixture in Mackay.

"I haven't paid too much attention to Dragons teams of the past," the former Roosters enforcer, Sea Eagles premiership winner and Storm player said.

"But from what I've seen from the guys here so far in the pre-season, we've got a squad that doesn't take any backward steps."

One of those players who doesn't appear to be afraid to do the tough stuff is a man aptly nicknamed "The Butcher", Rulon Nutira.

Nutira was playing for local first-grade team the Gundagai Tigers, and working at the Gundagai abattoir, when he was spotted by Dragons coach Paul McGregor last season.

"All the forwards have impressed me here," Rose said. "Rulon came here very raw, but he's been making changes since week one and I've seen him get better and better."

Rose said he was looking forward to playing in Mackay for the first time.

"I've never been to Mackay before, but I've played for the Mackay Stallions in an All-Black carnival in Cairns before, so I'm looking forward to it," he said.

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