Desperate to avoid the tag of rugby league journeyman, St George Illawarra recruit Kurt Mann is determined to make the Dragons his long-term home.
The former Melbourne Storm centre says he just wants to settle down at his new club, irrespective of what position he is asked to play.
“I just wanted to make a home for myself somewhere,” he said. “I don’t want to be popping from club to club all the time, so I’m going to try and establish myself here and hopefully play some good footy and stay here for a while.”
Signed on a two-year-deal, Mann says he isn’t caught up in the fuss of where he will play or whether his arrival at the famous NRL club will free up NSW Origin fullback Josh Dugan to move to the centres.
“As a kid growing up, I usually played five-eighth or fullback, so one of those two positions would be my preferred, but it doesn’t really bother me,” the 23-year-old said.
“(Coach Paul McGregor will) sort all that out as we get closer to the trials. I’ve trained everywhere, in the centres, at five-eighth, at fullback, so I’m not real fussed.
“I’ve come with the mindset that I might have to play different positions anyway, the same as in Melbourne.
“I never really spent much time playing in the centres, but last year I played most of my footy there, and that was a bit left-field for me but I still enjoyed it.”
Despite playing out of position in Melbourne, Mann relished his time under premiership-winning coach Craig Bellamy and lived out a dream playing alongside superstars Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.
“That was a really good experience. I couldn’t ask for a better debut really,” he said.
“I got to play alongside three of my childhood heroes and got a lot off them. Just the way they carry themselves on and off the field, really cool and calm under pressure. It was just so good to play alongside them.
“I learnt a lot off Bellyache (Bellamy), just in terms of attitude and stuff like that.”
He said McGregor and Bellamy were shaped from the same tough-but-fair mould and he was looking to making his debut for the Dragons at the Auckland Nines.
“It’s been a real long hard slog for pre-season and we’ve done a lot of really hard stuff out on the field and in the gym, so we’re really looking forward to getting out and playing and getting our hands on the ball.
“A lot of the teams use the Nines for that sort of thing. It’s a really fast-paced game so it’s good for your fitness.”