Shillington says elevation debunks myth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Shillington says elevation debunks myth

By Steve Jancetic 31/10/2009 04:11:43 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos prop David Shillington believes his elevation to the ranks of Test rugby has finally debunked the myth that a move to Canberra is a step backward in terms of representative aspirations.

Shillington's rise from promising talent to Queensland and Australian representative has all come about since his move from the then high-flying Sydney Roosters at the end of 2008.

A member of the Maroons emerging squad last season, Shillington admits he feared for his representative future when he signed for the Raiders, claiming it's a belief that is widespread throughout the NRL.

"Players do generally have a fear about that," Shillington said on the eve of his Test debut against England in the Four Nations tournament.

"I know I did.

"We were top of the table at the Roosters and Canberra were right down the bottom at the time, and usually guys from winning sides get rep honours and that sort of thing, but it does come down to the individual.

"It's great, I think it might make it easier for clubs like Canberra to sign more players."

Shillington's elevation takes the number of Test representative on the Raiders books to four, along with Terry Campese, Joel Monaghan and Kiwi forward Bronson Harrison.

Throw in NSW Origin backrower Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and exciting PM's XIII fullback Josh Dugan and the theory that Canberra players suffer to get recognition from representative selectors due to being outside the Sydney rugby league bubble is blasted out of the water.

It's not quite the heady days of the 1990s when the likes of Mal Meninga, Brad Clyde, Ricky Stuart, Laurie Daley and Glenn Lazarus dominated Test teams, but it's a start.

Shillington said he agonised over his decision to quit the Roosters, but the step up in responsibility in the nation's capital has taken his game to another level.

"Going down to Canberra I got to play more of a role in the forward pack rather than coming off the bench behind blokes like Mase (Willie Mason) and (Mark) O'Meley and Nate (Myles)," Shillington said.

"I got a bit more game time. It's nice down there because it's a nice relaxed lifestyle and you can concentrate on your footy.

"Sydney's got a lot going for it, there's the beaches, Kings Cross and the city are just a ten minute cab ride away - with all that stuff going on, footy at times can take a back seat, especially when your team's not doing that well."

Shillington also feared he may have tossed away a shot at a premiership.

When the 26-year-old agreed to terms with the Raiders, the Roosters were flying high near the top of the NRL ladder, and were eventually bundled out in the second week of the finals by the Warriors.

Shillington had a genuine belief the Bondi Junction club were on the verge of something big, though history shows they went on to have the year from hell, a season which cost coach Brad Fittler his job.

"When Freddy took over at the Roosters that was a big thing for me," Fittler said.

"He was such a good coach and a mentor to me.

"The next year I signed with Canberra and he took us to a semi final, my first finals series, and that sort of started me off.

"I agonised over signing with the Raiders, leaving Freddy and the Roosters, I thought 'great, I'm going to leave and they're going to win a premiership'."

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