HIS performance against the Newcastle Knights on Sunday turned plenty of heads and now Adam Clune is focused on backing it up this weekend in round five.
The Albion Park-Oak Flats product, after two weeks in NSW Cup, showed up plenty of his critics by admirably replacing St George Illawarra skipper Ben Hunt in the halves alongside Corey Norman.
"To me, it wasn't about filling Ben's shoes, rather bringing my strengths to the 17 and contributing the best I can," Clune said.
"To go up to Newcastle and get the job done, despite a pretty hostile crowd, was extremely pleasing."
The win was the Dragons' third on the trot - a run they haven't achieved since round six, 2019.
The Dragons, as a result, currently sit in sixth with a 3-1 record, which Clune puts down to an upbeat vibe at the club.
"Ever since pre-season, there's been a really positive feeling around the club, despite the indifferent performances against South Sydney in the Charity Shield and Cronulla in round one," the former Junee Diesel said.
"We learnt a lot from those two losses, especially as our newly defensive systems and attacking structures were in their infancy.
"Those things take time and we knew that coming out of both games - there was no point dwelling on them.
"I've been really proud of how the boys have responded the past three weeks and I was excited to be able to play my part last Sunday.
"Winning obviously helps but the vibe around the club is as good as I've experienced during my short time at the club."
While Clune, who shut down suggestions linking him to the Cowboys, admits the past few wins are nice, this Sunday against the undefeated Eels will be their 'biggest challenge yet'.
"The biggest thing Hook [coach Anthony Griffin] wants from Normy and me this weekend is continuing to get better as a pairing, which I thought we did in the second half against Newcastle," the 25-year-old said.
"This week will be even tougher, especially against a pack as big and as mobile as Parramatta's.
"We all know we're going to have to put in for the full 80 minutes.
"Normy and I, as well as other spine members [Matt] Dufty and Macca [Andrew McCullough], have to just keep working together and trying to put our teammates in their best position to succeed.
"We seem to have found a good balance of how involved we are getting with the ball, especially with how the game has quickened up
"If we do that, against a team that's four from four for a reason, it'll give us the best chance of getting a result."
While the offence is obviously a focus, Clune believes it's on the opposite side of the field where he's set the tone.
"Each week, defence is the thing I want to get right first and foremost because as a little bloke, you have to expect plenty of traffic is coming your way," said Clune, who admits the club is up and about with both Shellharbour's Trent Merrin (150th Dragons game) and Daniel Alvaro (100th NRL game) bringing up milestones.
"Everything in my game stems from my nailing my defence and it won't be any different at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday.
"It's going to be a physical encounter and I'll do my best to work with the guys on either side of me to get the job done."
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