Green’s impressive first grade debut

AS a die-hard Canterbury supporter, it was ironic that Nathan Green lined up for his first-grade debut against the club he had long admired.

Green, 19, became the Dragons first debutant for 2012 after being called up as a late replacement for Matt Cooper in St George Illawarra’s disappointing loss to Canterbury on Saturday night.

‘‘I was actually a mad Bulldogs fan when I was younger,’’ Green said. ‘‘So it was a bit weird debuting against them. My whole family goes for the Bulldogs but obviously now they are Red-V all the way.’’

Green was impressive in his first game. With 23 tackles, he made the most of any Dragons backline player and his 14 carries was only eclipsed by Brett Morris (19) and Trent Merrin (15).

He was told of his inclusion in the squad at the Dragons final training session on Friday.

‘‘It was a lot faster than under-20s,’’ Green said. ‘‘I wasn’t too [nervous]. I tried not to think too much about it because you don’t want to play the

game before you actually play it.

‘‘It’s good to tell your mum and dad because they are so proud of you and it’s a good reward for them.

I’m happy to have them in my life.’’

Green still lives at home with his family at Yowie Bay. Since joining the full-time NRL squad at the end of last season, Green has bulked up. He started pre-season at 91 kilograms but was 99 kilograms on Saturday night.

‘‘I put some big weight on,’’ said Green, who is off contract at the end of this year. I needed to step up physically.’’

Green joined Kyle Stanley and Jason Nightingale as St George juniors in the Dragons backline.

He played for Renown United after being selected in St George’s under-16 Harold Matthews competition but is still fond of his Sutherland Shire-based club Como-Jannali. ‘‘I like the green and white,’’ Green joked in reference to the colour of both junior clubs. ‘‘They are both great clubs and I enjoyed playing my junior footy with both of them.’’

With Cooper (ankle) and Beau Scott (thigh) racing to be fit for Friday’s match, Green could play his second game against Wests Tigers at WIN Jubilee Oval on Friday night.

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