Nightingale sets record straight

Flying Dragon: Jason Nightingale leaps to take a high ball this season. Picture: Phil Walter, Getty Images

Flying Dragon: Jason Nightingale leaps to take a high ball this season. Picture: Phil Walter, Getty Images

NOTHING gets past St George Illawarra winger Jason Nightingale.

Either on the footy field, or off it.

And he sure knows the worldwide web can't get past him as well.

It states on Wikipedia that he was born at Manly.

"I was born in Paddington," Nightingale said. "Wikpedia has it wrong."

Nightingale never followed the Roosters as a kid even though he was born in Eastern Suburbs territory. And the Roosters fans won't like him: he scored two tries in the 32-8 grand final win over them in 2010.

"That was a great day," Nightingale recalled.

But his journey and links to Australia and New Zealand are interesting.

"I was six months old when I went back to New Zealand with my parents."

His Kiwi-born parents Lynda and Jeff then brought him back to Australia when he was eight.

"I played for Renown United in the St George junior league for a while, then we went back to New Zealand, and I came back to Australia again when I was 13," Nightingale said.

"I get back to Renown United when I am invited to functions; I think it's a good thing to do things with the junior club where you played."

Nightingale came through the Dragons' junior representative program then into grade.

The highly dependable winger debuted in first grade in 2007, and became one of the most consistent performers for the Dragons and New Zealand (18 Tests).

He said when Nathan Brown was coach at the Dragons the player had to decide between making himself available to play for NSW in State of Origin or for New Zealand: he went for New Zealand.

Nightingale said he felt allegiance to New Zealand because of his background.

"My parents are back living there," he said.

It's a shame because Nightingale would have more than held his own at State of Origin level.

Nightingale has become a crowd favourite with the Dragons.

His unique running style, crash tackling, ability to back up and score tries, make strong runs charging into the forwards and leaping into the air to defuse bombs or score from high kicks are the trademarks of his play.

Nightingale is only second behind Dragons skipper Ben Creagh in the number of games played at the club.

"I love playing for the Dragons and I want to be a one club man," he said.

"My contract is up at the end of 2015 and I guess the next one I sign could probably be my last."

Away from footy he studies economics and wants to shape a career in this field.

He also enjoys the life-mentoring programs which the Dragons run in the community.

And later this year he will tie the knot with his fiancee, Bianka.

"I am getting married in December," he said.

JASON NIGHTINGALE

 NRL games: 159

Tries: 66

Date of birth: September 20, 1986, at Paddington

Height:183 centimetres

Weight: 91 kilograms

Representative honours: 18 Tests for New Zealand (2008-13); NRL All-Star (2012)

Junior club: Renown United

First grade debut: against Penrith Panthers, Jubilee Oval, Kogarah, April 4, 2007.

UNDEFEATED START

 The Dragons remain undefeated after three games with wins over Wests Tigers, New Zealand Warriors and Cronulla.

There is a long way to go but the Dragons are playing solid footy, the defence is resolute and the players’ confidence given a real boost. Trent Merrin has been outstanding in the opening three rounds.

MORRIS MILESTONE

 Brett Morris’s double tries took him to 101 tries, just one behind his dad, Steve, who scored 102 tries for St George (1979-86) from 180 games.

St George Illawarra Dragons 14 (Brett Morris 2, Jason Nightingale tries; Gareth Widdop one goal d Cronulla 12 (John Morris 2 tries; Michael Gordon 2 goals.). Crowd: 14,821.

WEEK AHEAD

The Dragons lead the competition on six points, with three wins from three games and they tackle Brisbane at 8pm this Friday at WIN Stadium, Woollongong.

HOLDEN CUP

The Dragons lead the competition on six points, with three wins from three games, and they tackle Brisbane at 8pm this Friday at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.

St George Illawarra defeated Cronulla 32-28 to also maintain their undefeated record in the Holden Cup. The Dragons share the competition lead on six points with Brisbane. The two teams clash at 5.45pm on Friday at WIN Stadium.

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