Premier Rugby: No.9 Liam Dillon excited for 2020 following move to Bond from Wests
By Finn Morton; Photo – QRU Media/Brendan Hertel
Scrumhalf Liam Dillon has played his last game for Wests, instead he’s set to be a critical part of Bond’s push for their first ever Premier Grade finals series in 2020.
The Gold Coast local has spent the last few seasons travelling back-and-forth down the M1 at least three times per week to extend his stay at Sylvan Road.
But after six-seasons of playing senior rugby at Wests, Dillon ultimately made the tough decision to leave the club to make juggling work, where he lives and rugby a bit easier.
“I’ve been living and working on the Gold Coast since mid-2018. I still played up at Wests last year but with work, I struggled to get up there,” Dillon said.
“It was a bit of a hard decision, obviously I had a lot of good mates and spent a fair few years up there so I love the club but I had to make a decision and do what’s best for myself.
“I decided that living only a couple of minutes from Bond, that was probably the right way to go.”
Dillon will have big shoes to fill in the upcoming season, with 2019 captain and scrumhalf Harry Nucifora leaving for Sydney.
Nucifora was a pivotal part of Bond’s attack for years, but his potential successor is confident that he can do a job for his new side on the back of his role at Wests.
“Harry obviously played a pretty big part for them over the last couple of years. I haven’t really thought about that too much, I feel that we are probably a little bit different in our styles.
“I probably do like to have a bit more of a run and that sort of thing but in saying that, that’s a bit of a tricky one. I’m just keen to get in there and play as well as I can.
“Playing scrum-half, similar to when I played at Wests, you’re a pretty integral part of the team I guess. You’re sort of involved in most plays whether that just be passing a ball or from a lineout, scrum or ruck.
“There has been a big focus on moving the ball during preseason, looking for offloads and playing a more expansive style of game which having played at Wests the last few years, I love doing. I’m really keen to try and implement something similar with Bond.”
After years of impressive performances, the Townsville Rugby junior was finally selected for representative honours in 2019 with Queensland Country in the NRC.
Dillon was thankful for the opportunity to train alongside some of Queensland’s best; also crediting his time with Country for his smooth transition to his new club.
“It was cool to get into that environment and see how everything is run, working with some pretty talented athletes from the Reds.
“It’s harder to get in a lot of game time but I’m definitely really thankful and appreciative for the experience.
“I was lucky enough to play NRC with a couple of the guys; Joe Fittock, Connor Chittenden and Dan Boardman. I was actually driving up with them to those NRC trainings and they were probably a couple of the reasons why it made it a little bit easier to transition across.”
Even with an NRC campaign under his belt, Dillon is firmly focused on the upcoming season and thinks representative selections will take care of itself if his club form is strong.
“First and foremost, I just want to play good footy consistently and win games. I’m quite competitive and hate losing so winning as many games as possible is important.
“I know that if I can play at my best and help Bond win games, it’s only going to be a good thing for the club. Everything after that, you leave up to the selectors.
“Hopefully that can take us to finals but again it’s a long way away so I don’t really think too much about that.”
Dillon can’t wait to face some familiar faces five-weeks into the season when Wests travel to the Gold Coast, but he’ll have to wait until Round 14 until he makes his return to Sylvan Road.
“It will be a little bit different obviously playing there at Wests. It’s a great club to play at so I’ll definitely be keen to get back there and play against a few of my old mates.
“In saying that, they do have a lot of young blokes coming through so really keen to see the side they put together as well.”