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Soward seeks shift to halfback for Dragons
By Steve Jancetic
16:17 AEST Wed Nov 21 2012

Jamie Soward has ditched the Coke and the kilos in a determined bid to add some responsibility to his game by assuming the St George Illawarra No.7 jumper.

On the same day the Dragons anointed Ben Creagh as the man to replace the retired Ben Hornby as the NRL club's captain, Soward revealed he had told coach Steve Price he wanted to take over Hornby's role as chief playmaker.

And after a self-confessed "shitty year" in which he lost his NSW Origin spot and temporarily the Dragons five-eighth berth as a back injury took its toll, Soward has taken an extraordinary step to help realise his goals, giving up one of his great loves - Coke.

"Eight days ago - I'm drinking nothing but water with a milkshake every now and then as a little treat," Soward told AAP.

"Last year was a pretty shitty year after three good years so I had to change something.

"I've always been around 90-91 (kilograms) when I've played and been able to carry it quite comfortably but this year I'd like to be a little bit lighter.

"With my back I have to look after it so if I'm carrying those extra one or two kilos throughout the year it could impact on my back.

"I'm giving it a real crack.

"After three good years I had one disappointing year - it was time to reset the jets and get them firing again."

Aiding that is the challenge of proving himself as a halfback, having played primarily as a five-eighth since arriving at the Dragons midway through 2007.

However Soward knows he won't simply be handed the jumper, or any jumper for that matter, describing himself as being part of a four-way tussle for the two halves spots along with Nathan Fien and young guns Kyle Stanley and Josh Drinkwater.

It's why he would take either spot in the run-on side, but it's also clear Soward has his eyes on the halfback gig.

"You get the chance to really run the team how you want," Soward said of playing halfback.

"Coming into grade I was a halfback and Brownie (former Dragons coach Nathan Brown) switched me to five-eighth and I really loved it because I just wasn't ready, I just hadn't learnt under a halfback for long enough.

"I think after four years outside of Ben Hornby and having that great combination, I've got the control to able to hold the team in my hands and help the team out."

Wherever he plays Soward will do it under Creagh, who presented himself as the obvious candidate to be the club's new captain.

"It's a very proud day for me," Creagh said.

"It's something I'm very excited about, something I'm ready for and it's a role at this club I never want to take for granted."