While St George Illawarra supporters are still ruing the year that got away, the 2009 Minor Premiers will continue to reap the benefits from an ever-improving Jamie Soward this year.
After now having spent 2 full seasons with the Dragons, the 25 year old Soward has obviously blossomed under the guidance of Wayne Bennett. Given a licence to thrill under Bennett, Soward has really thrived – after getting a tonne of confidence from the backing of Bennett.
He might have had his doubters at the Roosters, but Jamie Soward is really making the Bondi brigade rue the day they let him go.
Phil Gould always touted the young half as a future Origin player, and Gus regularly used to use Soward as a training tool in NSW Origin Camps.
In only 2 and a bit seasons at the Dragons, Soward has already got his hands on club records. The creative no.7 nabbing the most points in a season record and also holding the highest game point scoring achievement after sinking 22 points in a single outing.
Sowards creativity, direction and accurate kicking are widely recognised – but what surprised many last week is the raw speed he showed to outpace Panthers gun Michael Jennings in a footrace to the try line.
Soward has always had fair pace, but to outsprint Jennings over 50 metres was an impressive feat and one that should have Dragons fans salivating over their prospects in 2010.
Ever increasing representative honours for Soward are helping him no end in the confidence department and given the fact that the Dragons have several playmakers is handy to take the pressure off the current half-back week in, week out.
The Saints may have lost big Wendell Sailor, along with the likes of Chase Stanley and Mickey Paea but the increasingly confident Soward is the key to their success in 2010. He is more and more becoming the player to turn half chances into points and is willing to take the gamble when the game is on the line.