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The Rumours Thread

AyiosYiorgos

Coach
Messages
11,846
Part 4
PC: You mentioned briefly Zac Lomax. He is a young guy with enormous talent and you have brought Moses Suli to the club. They are two strike centres and two players of the future.

AG: Well, as I said Zac is 22 and started playing first grade when he was 18 or 19 and still has a long way to go in his education and his maturity. But he will be at the club long term and he is going to be a great centre, I think, if he continues to develop. And Moses didn’t get much of a go at Manly last year. He was injured for a while but he has got enormous potential. Again, he is another one of those old blokes we signed at 23 (laughing). But when I spoke to him he is very driven about what he wants to do as well. I think he only had one go at the end of last year against Canberra and everyone saw that night the potential that he has got.

PC: I don’t think potential has ever been the issue, has it. It has been his attitude in some respects, but he was very young in fairness

AG: Yeah. As I say, when I spoke to him he didn’t shy away from that either. He admitted that he’s contributed to a few of his tougher times over his career. So at 23 he has a long time to mature, but he is 107/108 kilo strike centre, so we are looking forward to working hard with him to get him to his potential.

PC: What about yourself. You had a couple of years out and now you’ve had one back. Regretting it?

AG: I love it. Obviously last year was a tough year the way we finished. But up until round 16 or 17, whenever that was, I thought we were building really well to be sitting seventh I think at the time. As a club everything is progressing really well and the future looks really good. From my point of view, I just love going to work every day. Well, I don’t call it work, but going to practice every day, and working on something that when we get it right it is going to be really special.

 

BLM01

First Grade
Messages
7,119

Part 1​

NRL 2022 Coaching clipboard sessions: Anthony Griffin on St George Illawarra’s tough questions​

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin responds to criticism of his roster rebuild and the recruitment of a stack of ageing stars.

Anthony Griffin has opened up in a revealing one-on-one interview with Paul Crawley where no subject was off limits.
The no-nonsense St George Illawarra coach tackled every question thrown at him, from parting shots fired from Matt Dufty (who accused Griffin of not allowing him to play the attacking football he is capable of), to criticism of his Dad’s Army-style Dragons rebuild.
Griffin talked openly about what convinced him to sign ageing stars Aaron Woods, George Burgess and Moses Mbye, and why their arrival will ultimately benefit the development of club’s special group of homegrown young guns.
Griffin also revealed why lessons learned from Paul Vaughan’s Covid-busting barbecue last year will make the club stronger in 2022, and why the captaincy has made Ben Hunt a better footballer.
Anthony Griffin opens up ahead of the 2022 season.
Paul Crawley: You’ve had a full season at the club now to have a look around and see what you think needs to change. So how do you see the future going forward from here?
Anthony Griffin: It is really positive. Now, after one season, we have got a good mixture of experience and we have recruited well. But, also, the vital part is being able to produce our own players and that is starting to evolve as well. So as far as building a list and a team that we can start to sustain some success with I think things are looking good.
PC: Some people have been critical of your recruitment in that you have gone and signed a lot of older players, some who may be considered over the hill. But you seem to have gone about it with a specific purpose of getting value for money?
AG: Well, that is the case with someone like Aaron Woods. But, I mean, he is only 30, and he adds great depth. But guys like Jaydn Su’a, who is 24, and Frank Molo, I think is 26 turning 27, and current Origin players, I don’t know if they are over the hill.
PC: Talk about Woodsy, because I know he impressed you when you had your initial chat before he signed. What did he say to convince you he’d be good for the club?

AG: I was just impressed with what he wanted to do. He was still very motivated. He felt he probably hadn’t played his best football over the last few years. He got caught up, obviously, in the Tigers/Bulldogs/Cronulla move, and he is desperate to play well. I think if you have a look at his history he has played 18-odd Test matches, and the same amount of Origins, and like I said, he is only 30 years old.

He didn’t strike me as a guy who had lost his enthusiasm for the game. In fact, he was more convincing the other way. I think he has still has got a lot more to offer and I know he thinks he has got a lot more to offer. Obviously he brings a lot of experience and depth to our forward pack.

PC: What about a guy like Moses Mbye? He went to the Tigers and got paid a big money because he was considered a player with great hope. But he has always been shifted around without never really getting the chance to find a permanent position. How do you want to play him?

AG: Well, that was the attraction with him. Again, Moses is only 27. He has been around for a long time. I think he was playing halfback for the Bulldogs when he was only 18 or 19. But he has played in grand finals, he has played Origin. And he was really brutally honest about his own performances at the Wests Tigers, which you have got to admire.

When I spoke to him, again, he was really driven and he wants to unlock another level of performance out of himself. And the thing I liked the most was that he was really selfless in how he sees that happening. He wasn’t after a guarantee about a position. In fact, he probably sees himself more as that person who can fill a number of roles. And that’s the attraction with him, that he can play nine, seven, six or one, and he has played centre at State of Origin level. And the main thing is we don’t or won’t bring anyone to the club that is not motivated, or doesn’t have a burning desire to win, and that is what I found in him as well.
PC: George Burgess is another one who has done everything in the game but now we find out he has also suffered in silence for years with agonising pain from his hip injury. What have you seen so far and do you think he can get back to his best?

AG: I think so, now after working with him for a couple of months. He is training really well. Obviously it was major surgery, so the performance staff have been really cautious with him. But I think the way he is going at the moment he is a really good chance of playing in the trials, which is his focus. And again, he hasn’t turned 30 yet, and the last five or six years he has sort of played in pain obviously, which no one really realised the extent of it. I can only comment on the last few months since I have known him and he is similar to the previous two guys I spoke about, he is desperate to play at the highest level again, and he wants to prove himself because he feels like he hasn’t been at his best for three or four years. He has been fantastic for our younger players. He has really embraced the club and on and off the field he is looking really good.
Potentially the dads army tag purchases may have been justified for Hook, but then I see how the Dolphins are excited and lauded for signing 2 x 33 year old props when they arrive who will or if not already past their prime. No doubt under Bennett they will do a job but...
 

Willow

Assistant Moderator
Messages
100,114
It’s a start, top four I’d have a woodie.
I agree.

But there was a time when 7th or 8th was a crap season. Since then we've had people referring to a top 8 finish as a 'successful' season... including McGregor who dined out for years because he once managed to win a game in the finals. Acceptance of mediocrity was never more noticeable.

I understand why we have a top 8, it makes money to restart the competition. But hark back to the top 4 or top 5, ie when the semis were the real deal and only the best teams were worthy.
 

Dragon David

Bench
Messages
4,035
Part 4
PC: You mentioned briefly Zac Lomax. He is a young guy with enormous talent and you have brought Moses Suli to the club. They are two strike centres and two players of the future.

AG: Well, as I said Zac is 22 and started playing first grade when he was 18 or 19 and still has a long way to go in his education and his maturity. But he will be at the club long term and he is going to be a great centre, I think, if he continues to develop. And Moses didn’t get much of a go at Manly last year. He was injured for a while but he has got enormous potential. Again, he is another one of those old blokes we signed at 23 (laughing). But when I spoke to him he is very driven about what he wants to do as well. I think he only had one go at the end of last year against Canberra and everyone saw that night the potential that he has got.

PC: I don’t think potential has ever been the issue, has it. It has been his attitude in some respects, but he was very young in fairness

AG: Yeah. As I say, when I spoke to him he didn’t shy away from that either. He admitted that he’s contributed to a few of his tougher times over his career. So at 23 he has a long time to mature, but he is 107/108 kilo strike centre, so we are looking forward to working hard with him to get him to his potential.

PC: What about yourself. You had a couple of years out and now you’ve had one back. Regretting it?

AG: I love it. Obviously last year was a tough year the way we finished. But up until round 16 or 17, whenever that was, I thought we were building really well to be sitting seventh I think at the time. As a club everything is progressing really well and the future looks really good. From my point of view, I just love going to work every day. Well, I don’t call it work, but going to practice every day, and working on something that when we get it right it is going to be really special.

Thanks Ayios for posting all the parts of the PC and Hook interview. I appreciate Hooks answers realising at the same time that he has had to "praise" the players. It is what he said about each player that makes me think that we will be firing throughout the year.

I know most of the other clubs have strong squads so each game will have to be taken on its' merit meaning different plans for each game subject to how our team went the previous week and how the team to be played went in their previous week.

The competition this year will be tough.
 

Mojo

Juniors
Messages
784
I agree.

But there was a time when 7th or 8th was a crap season. Since then we've had people referring to a top 8 finish as a 'successful' season... including McGregor who dined out for years because he once managed to win a game in the finals. Acceptance of mediocrity was never more noticeable.

I understand why we have a top 8, it makes money to restart the competition. But hark back to the top 4 or top 5, ie when the semis were the real deal and only the best teams were worthy.
Agree. Like all clubs in the comp, we’re competing for the premiership - never near enough is good enough.
 

The Word

Juniors
Messages
34
I agree.

But there was a time when 7th or 8th was a crap season. Since then we've had people referring to a top 8 finish as a 'successful' season... including McGregor who dined out for years because he once managed to win a game in the finals. Acceptance of mediocrity was never more noticeable.

I understand why we have a top 8, it makes money to restart the competition. But hark back to the top 4 or top 5, ie when the semis were the real deal and only the best teams were worthy.
This is all true. But the idea that we can go from 11th to 4th is a bit of a stretch isn't it? I'm confident next season will be an improvement because in my opinion Griffin has nailed most of the squad deficits we had with the money that was available under the cap. He's also doing well in retaining our quality youngsters, it's a balance.

Making the 8 gives us the opportunity to play finals footy, and, what the hell, potentially going all the way to the GF.

I'm more excited than I've been for ages at the start of a season.
 

Willow

Assistant Moderator
Messages
100,114
This is all true. But the idea that we can go from 11th to 4th is a bit of a stretch isn't it? I'm confident next season will be an improvement because in my opinion Griffin has nailed most of the squad deficits we had with the money that was available under the cap. He's also doing well in retaining our quality youngsters, it's a balance.

Making the 8 gives us the opportunity to play finals footy, and, what the hell, potentially going all the way to the GF.

I'm more excited than I've been for ages at the start of a season.
It's not a stretch at all. The game has numerous examples of teams improving vastly from one season to the next.

Great that you're excited. I'm optimistic.

But I'll be convinced when I hear the coach say a top eight finish isn't good enough. Gotta aim high.
 

Auntie.Gerald

First Grade
Messages
5,260
There is also upside in positioning the external club noise and media at one level while internally the conversation and expectations are set with tougher goals.

I think we should be striving for top4

We have the players to do it
We have very very good depth across the park when injuries strike.

With the mix we have and fair dinkum leaders I would be amazed if internally we are not locking in on top4.

Why else do u play the game?

You want to test yourself and for me that is top4
 

mickeylane

Bench
Messages
4,520
I really think these forwards will keep us in the top 8 all year...all have the right attitude if they all turn on at the same time - this is a good pack and not including soft cocks like Kerr, Alvaro, and inconsistent players like Fuimaono.
JDB
Molo
Sua
Burgess
Wood
Sims
Bird
Lawrie
Mcguire

I wish Hunt was playing 9 though.....would make us a top 4 team...
 

Willow

Assistant Moderator
Messages
100,114
Mediocrity has been the moto of our club since Bennett departed. Hopefully those days and after BBQgate last year that is a thing of the past and we will aim for professionalism and success
Might have been before that. I still laugh when I recall the Chairman's end of season message in 2007 - at the time it was arguably our worst season ever. Anyway, the Chairman praised the Club and stressed that we were only 2 wins away from making the top eight!!
What he neglected to say was we were only one loss away from the wooden spoon!
After the laughter died down, I thought we really needed to change the attitude, starting with those at the top.
 

qld redvee

Juniors
Messages
759
Part 4
PC: You mentioned briefly Zac Lomax. He is a young guy with enormous talent and you have brought Moses Suli to the club. They are two strike centres and two players of the future.

AG: Well, as I said Zac is 22 and started playing first grade when he was 18 or 19 and still has a long way to go in his education and his maturity. But he will be at the club long term and he is going to be a great centre, I think, if he continues to develop. And Moses didn’t get much of a go at Manly last year. He was injured for a while but he has got enormous potential. Again, he is another one of those old blokes we signed at 23 (laughing). But when I spoke to him he is very driven about what he wants to do as well. I think he only had one go at the end of last year against Canberra and everyone saw that night the potential that he has got.

PC: I don’t think potential has ever been the issue, has it. It has been his attitude in some respects, but he was very young in fairness

AG: Yeah. As I say, when I spoke to him he didn’t shy away from that either. He admitted that he’s contributed to a few of his tougher times over his career. So at 23 he has a long time to mature, but he is 107/108 kilo strike centre, so we are looking forward to working hard with him to get him to his potential.

PC: What about yourself. You had a couple of years out and now you’ve had one back. Regretting it?

AG: I love it. Obviously last year was a tough year the way we finished. But up until round 16 or 17, whenever that was, I thought we were building really well to be sitting seventh I think at the time. As a club everything is progressing really well and the future looks really good. From my point of view, I just love going to work every day. Well, I don’t call it work, but going to practice every day, and working on something that when we get it right it is going to be really special.

Ayios,
thanks for posting the article pretty informative
 

Carlton

Juniors
Messages
1,182
As a fan I would like to see us win the GF, if not that then make the top 4, if not that the make the top 8.

But want I really want is to see us striving for is to genuinely be putting together a squad that is competitive and working towards the future.

Griffin seems to be doing this and trying to address a number of the shortcomings of the previous squads and setting this up for those juniors that seem to genuinely have a shot at being above average first graders.

We haven't even hit the paddock yet and we have posters running down the players recruited. We needed size and go forward , we needed some competitive mongrel, we needed experience, we needed depth and buy in and we needed players that had a point to prove and wanted to be here and all within the salary cap.

From what I've seen this is exactly what we have, until you see them play cut the negative crap. If they are not up to it then fair enough criticise them.
 

OneEyedDragon

Juniors
Messages
764
As a fan I would like to see us win the GF, if not that then make the top 4, if not that the make the top 8.

But want I really want is to see us striving for is to genuinely be putting together a squad that is competitive and working towards the future.

Griffin seems to be doing this and trying to address a number of the shortcomings of the previous squads and setting this up for those juniors that seem to genuinely have a shot at being above average first graders.

We haven't even hit the paddock yet and we have posters running down the players recruited. We needed size and go forward , we needed some competitive mongrel, we needed experience, we needed depth and buy in and we needed players that had a point to prove and wanted to be here and all within the salary cap.

From what I've seen this is exactly what we have, until you see them play cut the negative crap. If they are not up to it then fair enough criticise them.
Exactly what you said @Carlton . I hope every Dragons player who takes the field this year plays to best of their potential and has a red hot go. I'm pretty sure if that happens then all (well, almost all) of us Dragons fans would be happy. I know I would be!
 
Messages
994
It's not a stretch at all. The game has numerous examples of teams improving vastly from one season to the next.

Great that you're excited. I'm optimistic.

But I'll be convinced when I hear the coach say a top eight finish isn't good enough. Gotta aim high.
Roosters 2009 - wooden spoon
Roosters 2010 - beaten grand finalists.

Any coach just aiming for top 8 should be sacked immediately.
Every team’s objective every year should be to win the comp.
 
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