ON the back of a dominant first season with the St George Illawarra Dragons under 20s side, former Nowra-Bomaderry Jet Jason Gillard has extended his deal with the club until the end of 2018.
The 19-year-old outside back, who guided the Jets to an under 18s Group 7 premiership is 2015, is excited to have his future secured.
“When I first got offered the contract, I was very pleased,” Gillard said.
“I have worked really hard this year to perform the best I can and to be given an extension contract has been very exciting for myself and my family.
“I think my performance this year on the field has lead to the contract extension.”
Gillard admits that his game has gone to another level in the Red V this season and he expects that improvement to continue in the future.
“I feel my ball carrying from the back of the field and also my decision making in defence has been my biggest improvement this year,” he said.
“In saying that, there are still parts in my game that I need to fix up and I'm excited to work harder on those in 2018.
“I'm looking to have a really big pre-season at the end of this year leading into next year – which will allow me to work on the things I need to and take my game to another level next year.”
Gillard’s season continues to go from strength to strength, playing a big role in his Dragons team’s 18-14 comeback victory against the Penrith Panthers in Saturday’s National Youth Competition qualifying final at Allianz Stadium.
“The game on the weekend was tough,” he said.
“It came right down to the wire, so it was a credit to the boys for digging in for the final few minutes, to ensure that we came away with the victory.”
Gillard, who scored a try in the weekend’s four point win, and his team will now enjoy the week off before playing the winner of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles match, for a spot in the Holden Cup grand final.
“We are focusing on what we are doing every week and not trying to get ahead of ourselves.” he said.
“We know we are one win away from a grand final but we know we need to go day by day.
“At training the next two weeks, we will just focus on our game and what works well for us and fix up what hasn't been the best over the last couple of weeks.
“The way we will prepare is just focusing week by week, leading up to our next game.”
Gillard is joined by fellow Group 7 products Reuben Garrick (Gerirngong), Josh Dowel (Warilla-Lake South), Jackson Ford (Gerringong), Jayden Morgan (Albion Park-Oak Flats), Tom Angel (Kiama) and Dylan Morris (Kiama) in the Dragons under 20s squad.