Craig Garvey has expressed his gratitude to Dragons coach Paul McGregor for allowing him to continue his NRL journey at the Bulldogs just days out from playing against his former club. 

Garvey managed 10 games at the Dragons in his three seasons of first grade there. It could've been more too if not for an assault charge in September, 2014, where he was stood down by the club on two separate occasions. 

The 23-year-old earnt back and repaid the faith shown in him by McGregor when he featured in first grade seven times for the Red V last year.  

"I was always thankful to Mary for keeping me on when I got into all the trouble. He didn't have to do that. He had enough numbers and other players there but he saw something in me which was great for me," Garvey told NRL.com.

"I'll always be grateful to him. He let me leave which he didn't have to do. He allowed me to pursue a contract with the Bulldogs and now I feel I'm making the most of it."

The decision to move to the Bulldogs wasn't one Garvey took lightly upon signing with the club in November. 

When it came down to it though Garvey phoned McGregor for a heart-to-heart chat and as a result was consequently released from the final year of his Dragons contract. 

It's a move that paid off for Garvey with him featuring in eight of the Bulldogs' 13 NRL games so far in 2016. 

"I'm really close with Mary. I played NSW Cup under him and two years in grade with him after that so when I called him he understood where I was coming from. He was really respectful towards it all," Garvey said. 

"He had other players coming like Siliva Havili so I could have been either stuck in the mud there or moving forward as I am here at the Bulldogs. Luckily he allowed me that opportunity to leave. 

"If you count Josh McCrone there could have been four of us hookers at the Dragons and I could've really fallen behind."

On Monday Garvey will battle the player that was ahead of him at the Dragons and he is already relishing in his battle with opposition hooker and great mate Mitch Rein. 

Garvey's gratitude extended to the Country Origin representative Rein who was massive in the development of his young career.

"Reiny took me under his wing and I was pretty close to him the whole time I was there. We're good mates and we talk as much as we can. I've seen the way he's playing and he's getting better each passing year so he's one for us to watch this week," Garvey said.

"It'll be nice to see what I've learnt from him and take it out there against him. I want to get out against the boys as much as I can. 

"I'll be saying stuff from the sideline for sure. Towards Reiny in particular. I can't wait to get out against him. I was playing under him for a long time so hopefully I can get out there and rip into him."

This article first appeared on NRL.com