McCarthy has joined the Dragons for the next two years. The former Hull KR skipper, who also played for Warrington, Leigh and Wakefield in England, is the Red V’s third British recruit in recent times along with Mike Cooper and Gareth Widdop.
The Irish international is one of the first among the Dragons squad to start pre-season along with new signings like Taane Milne and Josh McCrone.
“The start of the preseason has been fairly tough and there is a great intensity to the training,” he said.
“There’s lots of new players to the group and its been good getting to know everyone.
“We’ve been back to basics really but getting a good understanding of how the structures work at the club in both attack and defence, plus the lungs and legs have been given a blowout too.
“I feel like I have slotted in pretty comfortably, the club has been great in welcoming me and so have all the boys.
“It has probably helped with joining at the same time as a lot of new faces but I think you can already feel a good bond amongst the group.
The Dragons finished eighth on the NRL ladder in 2015, with 12 wins and 12 losses. The joint-venture qualified for the finals but was knocked out in the first attempt in golden point by the Canterbury Bulldogs.
The forward has experience of Australian conditions, after starring in the Queensland Cup in 2014 with Northern Pride.
McCarthy knows he has to impress in pre-season to push for a first-grade spot in coach Paul McGregor’s team.
“Paul wants 100% commitment first and foremost, but I not really spoken about my personal expectations with him yet,” the 27-year old said.
“But I’m sure he knows that I don’t want to be here to make the numbers up, but he’s just given me a few tips and areas to brush up on.
“I think I just need to make sure I am taking in all the information coach’s and staff are giving us, and need to adapt to the different styles quickly.
“If I go 100 percent at everything then I know that I have given myself the best possible chance of getting a crack.”