Coach breaks silence on Dragons reject

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin has explained why the club won’t offer fullback Matt Dufty a contract beyond 2021.

A local junior, Dufty has played 77 games for the Red V since debuting in 2017, but reports emerged this week that his time in the ‘Gong might be drawing to a close.

Griffin corroborated those rumours on Thursday, saying the pint-sized custodian is not part of his long-term plans at the joint venture.

“Matt’s been here for five years and he’s a really good person. We haven’t got any other issues with Matt other than football-related,” he told reporters.

“I want to make that point clear, it’s never been anything off the field that we’ve had a problem (with) since I’ve been here and certainly the people that have been here before me back that up.

“We’ve got to build our list and Matt’s made a really good contribution here over the period he’s been here but come to the chase, we don’t see that going forward on our list.”

An attacking livewire, Dufty has copped criticism for his defence in recent times. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

The former Broncos and Panthers boss shot down speculation that his side would make a play at Melbourne utility Nicho Hynes, whose contract at the Storm runs out at the season’s end.

Hynes has proved a handy understudy for the injured Ryan Papenhuyzen this season but will likely need to look elsewhere if he hopes to become a regular starter at NRL level.

Griffin says Dufty’s replacement won’t come from outside the Dragons, however.

“We’ve got some great young kids coming through in Cody Ramsey and (Tyrell) Sloane,” he said.

“Where we are, at the moment, we’re not looking to go to the market and make a really big purchase in that position. That might change, salary cap and the management of your roster changes day-to-day, and that might change down the track.

“We haven’t not offered Matt Dufty a contract so we can go out and offer a heap of money to someone else because we haven’t got a heap of money in next year’s cap.”

Hope is not lost for Dufty, though. The 25-year-old will likely pique the interest of both the Bulldogs and Broncos, both of whom are in need of a specialised fullback for 2022 and beyond.

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