AAP

Not to put too much pressure on Gerard Beale, but the last Brisbane winger who came to St George Illawarra in search of the Dragons No.1 jumper turned himself into one of the most dominant fullbacks in the game.

That was Darius Boyd in 2009, who followed coach Wayne Bennett from the Broncos to the Dragons seeking an opportunity to get more involved in the game.

Not only did Boyd become involved, he became the most important cog in a Dragons attack which captured the 2010 premiership, before he and his mentor fled for Newcastle in 2012.

The Dragons struggled to fill the position last season with Kyle Stanley, Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale all given brief runs at the back, but as he joined his new teammates for the first day of pre-season training on Monday, New Zealand international Beale said he wanted to make the No.1 his own.

"(Boyd) improved and evolved when he left the Broncos and I guess I'd hope to do something similar in my own way," Beale told AAP.

"It all comes down to the way I train ... I don't want to come down here and let the boys down.

"That's my goal (to be the fullback), in the end though it's up to Pricey (coach Steve Price).

"I think I play better when I'm around the ball and have a bit of a free rein - having this opportunity now makes me happier and more confident."

Former Bennett understudy Price said he was far more confident entering his second year at the helm, with the Dragons failing to reach the finals for the first time in five years in his rookie campaign.

He returns minus a few familiar faces with former skipper Ben Hornby and Dean Young having both retired, Hornby's departure in particular leaving the Dragons short on a first-choice No.7.

The Dragons failed in their bid to entice Cooper Cronk to the club, and have been heavily linked with Mitchell Pearce and Test ace Johnathan Thurston - both of whom come off contract at the end of 2013.

Price said he was happy with the halves options he had at his disposal for next season, particularly the potential of former Manly under-20s halfback Josh Drinkwater, who joined the club seeking an opening having been stuck behind Sea Eagles stars Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran.

"We're really happy with the halves we've got at the moment with Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Kyle Stanley and Josh Drinkwater all there fighting for it," Price said.

"There's an opportunity there for him (Drinkwater) to really nail this pre-season."

Price said he would wait until after the first two weeks of pre-season to make a call on the captaincy, with the likes of Matt Cooper and Ben Creagh leading candidates to replace the Hornby.