Dean Byrne
interview: a future on standby

Halfback Dean Byrne first came to the notice of St George Illawarra supporters when he ran onto the field during a pre-season trial in early 2002. With incumbent halfback Willie Peters set to depart, Dean was tipped by many observers as the next player to fill the No.7 jersey for the Dragons.

But Dean Byrne's ambitions came to a sudden halt when he broke his foot while playing in a lower grade fixture at the annual Charity Shield event. Some weeks later, the talented halfback suffered another major setback when incredibly, he broke his other foot while recuperating.

For a player that had never had any major injuries before, this was a big blow. Fortunately, Dean made a full recovery but not in time to stamp his name on the competition in 2002.

By the time Dean was ready to play again, Saints had signed another talented half by the name of Brett Firman. It took an injury to Firman to see Byrne finally get his chance in the NRL when he debuted for the Dragons first grade in early 2003 against Parramatta. So impressive was Dean Byrne that he suddenly came to the notice of other NRL clubs keen to solve their own halfback problems.

The Sydney Morning Herald then published a rumour that Dean Byrne had asked for a release. These rumours were unfounded as Dean himself knew nothing of the story prior to reading it in the paper.

Regardless of any rumours or hearsay, its abundantly clear that Dean Byrne is First Grade material; and as the interview below reveals, a bright future is waiting in the wings.

Background Date of birth: 21.10.81 Place of birth: St. George Hospital Kogarah Favourite food: Bacon and eggs Favorite holiday destination: Hawaii Favourite movie: Rush hour 1 & 2 Favourite TV show: Simpsons Favourite other sport: Water skiing Preferred position: Halfback Favorite team when young: Dragons Favorite sportsperson: Ricky Stuart Favorite Rugby League player: Andrew Johns

Interview -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: I'd like to start of by asking you about your early playing days. Which was the first team you played for and can you describe your first try?

DB: Peakhurst Hawks. I scored 3 tries but I don't remember how. -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: Who is the player that you most like playing against?

DB: ................( cant think of one). -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: Which player do you most like playing with?

DB: Reece Simmonds. -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: After playing for a while with Canterbury, you were signed by Saints for the 2002 season. How did this come about?

DB: Through my manager and with some help from Ricky Stuart. -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: I was fortunate enough to see you play the pre-season match at Perry Park in 2002. I wasn't alone in thinking that Saints had 'found a new halfback'. How was it like after that match?

DB: Exciting, I thought until the next week when I broke my foot. -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: If you couldn't play your preferred position, Which position are you happy to play?

DB: Five eighth or fullback. -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: Saints returned to Kogarah on Sunday 4th May and you led the first Dragons team since 1999 onto the turf. How did you enjoy playing at Kogarah Jubilee Oval?

DB: Not bad, I had played there before but it was fun to return on such a big day. We enjoyed getting a win up for the club. -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: You've been appointed team captain of the Premier League side. Does this detract from your playing or do you look forward to the responsibility?

DB: It doesn't phase me, I had plenty of experience at the Bulldogs and enjoy the responsibility. -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: Kicking conversions from the sideline doesn't seem to rattle you. Where did you learn your goal kicking skills and did you have any coaching?

DB: Sort of comes natural to me, but I need a lot more practice. I also had some help from Daryl Halligan. -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: Recent news reports have suggested that you've asked for a release from the Dragons. How true is this and when was the first you heard of these reports?

DB: I'd love to stay at St. George, so I'll stay as long as I can, but I just don't think they'll have room for me. I wasn't aware of it until the morning that it was in the paper. -------------------------------------------------------------- SW: The interview wouldn't be complete without asking the obvious question. Which club do you want to play with and where would you like to see yourself in one year from now?

DB: I don't know which club. I just want to do what I love doing best and that's playing footy, and if that opportunity comes somewhere else I think I'd have to take it. --------------------------------------------------------------

Many thanks, Dean. Cheers.