Jason Saab running smoothly ahead of St George Illawarra Dragons' 2020 NRL season

Jason Saab will look to make the most of his opportunities at the Dragons next season. Picture: Anna Warr
Jason Saab will look to make the most of his opportunities at the Dragons next season. Picture: Anna Warr

Jason Saab is keen to shake off the injuries that crippled the end of his debut NRL season and stake his claim for a place on the end of St George Illawarra's backline.

The giant 19-year-old winger made his NRL debut for the Dragons in round 19 last season against South Sydney, the team he supported as a child.

The Rabbitohs ran out 20-16 winners that night at ANZ Stadium but Saab showed his worth, scoring two tries.

The 199-centimetre winger, one of the tallest players in the NRL, also made appearances against Parramatta and the Gold Coast, with Saab's first win coming against the Titans at Kogarah.

But while shoulder and foot injuries put an end to his campaign, the NSW under-18s and 20s and Australian Schoolboys representative is keen to make up for lost time next season.

"My goals for next year, I don't like to set the bar extremely high. Just more realistic. I tend to work harder at the little goals then the bigger goals keep piling in," he said.

"So my main goal really is just to play consistent footy. I do want to be playing first grade all year and be consistent at that. But I'm also only 19 and there's going to be a lot of learning experiences along the way.

"So it doesn't matter where I'm playing as long as I'm doing my best to make myself a better player I'm sure I'll be alright. And hopefully I can stay injury free at the back end of next year and play Junior Kangaroos. I missed out on my opportunity this year. I want to play Origin 20s again, It's always an honour to pull on the blue jersey. So those are the main goals, nothing too extreme. But that's where my expectations are at."

Saab could be part of a youthful looking backline for the Dragons next season, with coach Paul McGregor reportedly set to give Zac Lomax the first shot at fullback at the expense of the out-of-favour Matt Dufty.

Saab said he was managing his injuries through pre-season but was looking forward to 2020.

"They're going alright. I was unfortunate to be ruled out three games in [to playing first grade]. It was a very short experience for this year but we'll be back next year," he said.

"The shoulder is going really well, it's ahead of where it should be on schedule. With the foot it's a bit more of a process, it's all about load management. You don't want it happening again and having another long rehab. It's just about making sure it's 100 per cent."

While the Dragons have lost captain Gareth Widdop they will still boast a strong spine of Ben Hunt and Corey Norman in the halves, reigning Dragons player of the year Cameron McInnes at hooker and future star Lomax at fullback.

The Dragons open their 2020 NRL season at home in Wollongong against Wests Tigers on March 15.

St George Illawarra make their first appearance at Kogarah in round two, hosting Penrith.

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