Rabbitohs a distant memory for McInnes

St George Illawarra's Cameron McInnes says he feels no bond with his former NRL club South Sydney.
St George Illawarra's Cameron McInnes says he feels no bond with his former NRL club South Sydney.

Cameron McInnes wants to make one thing clear - he's a Dragon now despite a rich Souths past.

All year while this classy hooker has been lighting up the NRL at St George Illawarra, the talk has been about how he was forced out of his junior club South Sydney by the recruitment of Robbie Farah two seasons ago.

Then there was the ongoing head-to-head battle with close mate Damien Cook, that began at the Bunnies and transcended into a shootout for a NSW State of Origin jersey this year.

McInnes admits five years ago, when he captained the Rabbitohs under-20s side, it was unthinkable he'd one day play against them in an NRL semi-final.

But he couldn't be happier doing it.

"I've played more games at St George Illawarra than I have at Souths," McInnes told AAP.

"This will be my 50th game for St George Illawarra this week. I feel like I'm a Dragon through and through.

"The turnover of staff and players at Souths has been huge since I left. It is a team I used to play for but it's more the colours not the team.

"There's no heartache playing them, I love the Dragons and I love my life down here."

A Sydney Roosters fan growing up because of Brad Fittler, McInnes only started getting behind Souths when he entered their junior club systems.

But he's now very much an Illawarra boy.

He's set up his whole life around it after trading the inner city for the south coast beaches since basing himself at Shellharbour at the end of last year with fiancee Rachel.

"I couldn't be happier with where my football life is at and my life in general," he said.

"My first kid was born down here, I got engaged down here and bought my first house down here. Everything is down here and I love it down here."

Saturday's battle between McInnes and Cook will be crucial for both teams' finals fate, and while McInnes doesn't buy into the duel he knows the importance of stifling his opposite number.

"It's a whole team thing. If we control their forwards it makes the game harder for him, if Souths control our forwards it makes it harder for me," McInnes said.

"He's a big part of their team so if we can slow him down it would be a big part for us."

Australian Associated Press