AFTER a number of seasons with St George Illawarra, Gerringong Lions product Reuben Garrick has made the move north to Manly-Warringah, in a hope of finally cracking the top grade.
Following another strong season with the Dragons in the Intrust Super Premiership – in which he made 21 appearances, scoring 10 tries, making 12 line breaks and giving eight try assists – Garrick penned a one-year deal with the Sea Eagles.
“Last year, I thought I was way too inconsistent with my play for the Dragons,” Garrick said.
“I’d have a really good game one week but then back it up with a poor one – which I think comes back to my preparation.
“As such, I’ve really tried to improve that facet of my game.”
While the Dragons couldn’t guarantee him a spot in their top squad, the Des Hasler/Trent Barrett coached Sea Eagles had no such trouble for the former NSW under 20s representative player.
“Midway through last season, in about June, my manager put some feelers out into the market and see what teams would be interested in me,” he said.
“It was then I decided to sign with the Sea Eagles.
“One of the main reasons I signed with Manly is there is plenty of opportunity and competition for spots in the squad and I find I thrive and play my best footy in a competitive environment.”
This was a decision that Garrick didn’t make lightly though, after being in the Dragons system for more than five years.
“I had grown up playing and training with a lot of those guys in the Dragons top squad, after coming through the youth system with them, as well as playing against them in Group Seven,” he said.
“While it’s sad to leave all those mates behind, I think a fresh challenge is just what I needed.
“It’s been really good learning from new coaches, who approach the game differently – not to mention all the players have been really welcoming too.
“For example, this pre-season with Manly we have been doing a lot of wrestling and defensive work, as well as short and sharp fitness, instead on long distance running I had done in previous pre-seasons.
“Apart from that, the first week has been primarily testing and a lot of work with the sports science guys.”
The move to Manly has also seen Garrick move to the Northern Beaches, where he has had to adjust living out of home for the first time.
“The adjustment to living out of home hasn’t been too bad yet – it just feels like I’m on a big footy camp so far,” he said.
“It’s been really good to move in with fellow new recruit Corey Waddell [from Penrith], as we both are in the same situation – we bounce of each other really well.”
At the end of the day though, Garrick admits the main reason he made this move was to chase his lifelong dream of making his first grade NRL debut.
“I thought it [NRL debut] might have happened last season but that just makes me even more determined to achieve now at Manly,” he said.
“Just staying in that NRL system is important and I think this move will pay big dividends to my career, as I have a really good feeling about next season.
“Hopefully it can all come together and I can finally make my debut – it would be a dream come true.”
Garrick and his Sea Eagles, who have been training without their international stars thus far, will train until just before Christmas before having a two-week break, before pre-season resumes in early January.
Manly-Warringah top squad for 2019 season: Daly Cherry-Evans, Cade Cust, Kane Elgey, Brendan Elliot, Manase Fainu, Addin Fonua-Blake, Tevita Funa, Reuben Garrick, Jack Gosiewski, Trent Hodkinson, Albert Hopoate, Brian Kelly, Semisi Kioa, Api Koroisau, Brad Parker, Taniela Paseka, Lloyd Perrett, Toafofoa Sipley, Curtis Sironen, Moses Suli, Kelepi Tanginoa, Jorge Taufua, Martin Taupau, Joel Thompson, Jake Trbojevic, Tom Trbojevic, Corey Waddell, Dylan Walker and Frank Winterstein.