Minor crown worth celebrating: Hornby - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Minor crown worth celebrating: Hornby

By Steve Jancetic 02/09/2010 03:01:37 PM Comments (0)

It's the reward for 26 weeks of sustained dominance, but St George Illawarra skipper Ben Hornby claims winning the NRL minor premiership doesn't receive the recognition it truly deserves.

With a second straight minor premiership safely in his side's keeping, Hornby said the Dragons were determined put aside the focus on the club's premiership drought and turn Sunday's last round stoush with South Sydney into a celebration.

"I think so," Hornby said when asked whether winning the minor premiership was undervalued.

"Obviously in Australian sport it's not taken that seriously but if you finish on top after 26 rounds, that's got to be some sort of achievement - we're very proud of it.

"You work hard all season to try and come out on top at the end - this is obviously just one step that we want to take.

"We get to go out there and celebrate with our fans, it's going to be a special night."

Hornby and the Dragons paraded the JJ Giltinan Shield before their fans after last season's home finale, but the Dragons veteran - who on Thursday signed a new three-year deal with the club - said there was more anticipation about Sunday's celebration.

The Dragons went into last year's final round trailing Canterbury by two competition points, but emerged on top in a frantic night for NRL officials who had to transport the shield from the Sydney Football Stadium to Kogarah when it became clear the Bulldogs would lose to Wests Tigers and the Dragons had beaten Parramatta.

Hornby admitted the finish caught some of the players off guard.

"I think we get to celebrate it a little bit better with the fans because last year we didn't know if we were going to get it," Hornby said.

"The fans all know this year that it's in our safe keeping so we get to celebrate with them a little bit more."

Hornby kicked off his celebrations a little early after protracted negotiations on a new deal with the club finally came to an end.

The new contract will keep him at the club until the end of the 2013 season, by which time he will be 33 and have completed his 14th campaign with the joint venture.

As loyal a clubman as any organisation could wish for, Hornby said the desire to be a one-club player was paramount.

"It's something I'm very proud of ... I love playing for the club and the club's been great to me so to be able to play my whole career here would be great," Hornby said.

"We've been in discussions for a long time but I always wanted to stay and the club was keen to keep me so we never really entered into any other discussions."

Asked whether the new deal would be his last, Hornby said:

"You never know - Dell (Wendell Sailor) played till he was 35 so maybe there's hope for me."

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