Soward stepping up for Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Soward stepping up for Dragons

By Ben Horne 21/04/2010 07:48:29 PM Comments (0)

The dreaded second-year syndrome was staring St George Illawarra star Jamie Soward in the face like a monster front rower this NRL season.

But just like he would on the field, the Dragons linchpin has chipped over the top, regathered and left the pressure and doubters for dead.

He topped all the stats in 2009 and even went close to stealing the Dally M Medal from Jarryd Hayne.

A comedown was possible, perhaps likely, but Soward has continued to prove he's no flash in the pan.

There's no doubt teams have tried to nullify his effectiveness, but as the surest sign yet he's ready for representative football, the Red V's five-eighth has so far overcome the challenges.

For Soward it's not about being as good as he was last year, it's about being better.

"I think what was important for me this year and I probably didn't realise it until after (the Dragons' round five loss to) Melbourne, I can't just come in and do what I did last year," Soward said.

"The team can't come in and just expect it to happen, you've got to start from scratch, and I'd like to think I'm getting back to playing some good footy.

"The little things I was doing last year I'm hopefully doing this year.

"Teams get better, faster, stronger, watch more video, change their game plans to when they play you now so if you have a look, my kick metres have been down because wingers are dropping back.

"So you change your game and that's what makes our game so good because everyone gets better every year and it's a challenge week in, week out to get better yourself."

Soward's emergence as one of the game's best playmakers began on Anzac Day last year when he decimated the Roosters, scoring two tries and 21 points in the Dragons' 29-0 rout.

He put on a master class that day, with five tackle breaks, two line breaks and a try assist to go with his point-scoring haul.

"It was just one of those days where the ball just kept finding me I didn't have to find the ball," he said.

While last year was about proving the nay-sayers wrong, 2010 is about proving himself to NSW selectors.

Soward hates talking about his Origin prospects and says a sky-blue jumper isn't in his thinking, but he concedes the big-game atmosphere of an Anzac Day clash is the perfect stage to further push his NSW dream.

"I think every match is an opportunity to build your case because the selectors are looking for consistency, they're looking for guys who are doing their job week in, week out because you only have a short preparation in Origin," Soward said.

"I don't really like answering Origin questions because I haven't played it ... I'm not a guy that's worrying about Origin, I'm more worried about what Wayne (Bennett) wants me to do (for the Dragons) and what the team wants me to do.

"I guarantee you now, the last thing on my mind is Origin."

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