FORMER Nowra-Bomaderry Jet Jason Gillard and his under 20s St George Illawarra Dragons team are just one win away from the National Youth Competition grand final.
Standing in their way are the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, who defeated minor premiers Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 44-22 at the weekend.
Differently, Gillard’s Dragons, who have defeated the Sea Eagles on both occasions in 2017, have enjoyed a two week preparation for Saturday’s preliminary final at Allianz Stadium.
“The preparation has been really good,” Gillard said.
“We have been sticking to a game plan over the last couple of weeks and we are going to aim to stick to that again against Manly.
“The key to beating them is shutting down there main players and playing the whole 80 minutes to our structure and game plan.
“Personally, I’ll be aiming at having as many strong carries as I can, to help my teammates out, while making the right decisions in defence.”
It’s been an exciting fortnight for Gillard, 19, who recently extended his contract with the Dragons until the end of 2018.
“I am excited to keep playing to the best of my ability and I do have more confidence now having signed a new contract,” he said.
“It’s good to know I have a spot at the club next year and I'm excited to keep putting my best foot forward.”
Gillard is joined in the squad by fellow Group 7 Reuben Garrick (Gerringong), Josh Dowel (Warilla-Lake South), Jayden Morgan (Albion Park-Oak Flats), Jackson Ford (Gerringong), Dylan Morris (Kiama) and Tom Angel (Kiama) in the squad.
Kick-off is at 2.30pm.
Dragons squad: 1. Steven Marsters 2. Matheson Johns 3. Reuban Garrick 4. Jackson Ford 5. Jason Gillard 6. Joe Lovodua 7. Tristan Sailor 8. Stuart Mason 9. Reece Robson 10. Josh Dowel 11. Trent Peoples 12. Jayden Morgan 13. Brayden Gallagher 14. TJ Uele 15. Matt Shepherd 16.Jackson Willis 17. Hayden Lomax 18. Tom Angel 19. Jack Cross 20. Bailey Dickenson 21.Dylan Morris