Norman braces for ‘ultimate athlete’
Corey Norman isn't simply playing his first Anzac Day blockbuster at the famed SCG.
No, the new St George Illawarra recruit is up against Latrell Mitchell - that rising Roosters superstar who outweighs him by 11kg, boasts NSW Origin experience and is, right now, is brimming with the type of confidence that comes from icing Melbourne Storm with a 40m field goal.
"Latrell's the ultimate athlete, isn't he?" Norman says, grinning. "He's big, powerful, a natural footballer who knows rugby league.
"So wherever he goes in the field, centre, five-eighth … he's going to be dangerous. I reckon you could throw him into the backrow and he'd kill it there, too."
With the regular Roosters No.6 Luke Keary sidelined with ongoing concussion issues, Mitchell has been named to make the switch to five-eighth for the SCG showdown.
Asked how this changed his role with the reigning premiers, Norman continued: "Well, he's going to get his hands on the ball more.
"That's one thing.
"And Latrell, he's just a football player. So if he goes to five-eighth you know he's going to turn up."
Earlier this week, Roosters coach Trent Robinson revealed he was considering youngster Lachlan Lam as a replacement for Keary, who was forced from the field midway through the second half of last week's emphatic win over Storm, suffering concussion.
In his absence, Mitchell not only moved into the halves alongside Cooper Cronk, but won his side the game with a booming field goal in golden point - having earlier also scored one try and set up another.
Yet regardless of who partners Cronk at the SCG, Norman warned the Roosters backline wasn't the only threat.
"They've got a forward pack that's just as good," he said. "So we have to be concerned about slowing their forwards down, take away the time we're giving the outside backs.
"Because when the Roosters outside backs get early ball, they're very dangerous."
After nine seasons with Brisbane and Parramatta, Norman says he cannot wait to play in his first ever Anzac Day game.
"I've never been a big watcher of footy," the 28-year-old concedes. "But every year, I always tune in for the Anzac Day game.
"And since signing with the Dragons, I've heard nothing but good stories about the excitement, the build up, everything that comes with it.
"Which is why we've spoken about the importance, coming into this game, of knowing your role. That way all the nerves, all the excitement that comes with playing on such a special day, they don't get to you."