The rugby league season is over, and with consecutive days being a rarity for me it meant I could catch up with mates.
Out of my friends there’s a strong Dragons contingent, footy is never off the agenda.
My Dragons mates are a little fired up over the weekend not helped by what they read in regards to outgoing fullback Matt Dufty in the Sunday Telegraph.
Dufty is an interesting player, at his attacking best, he is quite brilliant.
One of the best tries I’ve called in recent times – SCG, ANZAC Day, that solo try a couple of years ago - fantastic player when he’s on song, he can light it up and he can break the best defences, it is a rare talent.
But there’s always been mixed reports on attitude off the field, defence and positional play also being questioned.
But, as an attacking stripe weapon, if it’s me, I can live with the deficiencies in other areas.
My Dragons friends were surprised to read how structured coach Anthony Griffin wanted Dufty to play.
In the end, that has been a key factor in his departure.
The Dragons were a team that finished 11th on the ladder this year and 11th in the attacking stats.
The Dragons friends I’m mates with are still incredibly disappointed in their 2021 campaign, the dreadful losing run to finish the career post ‘the barbecue’, and might I say, they’re also underwhelmed the recruitment list for 2022.
They’re struggling to understand where the club has actually strengthened their roster. There were another three signings confirmed on Friday.
Whereas my Canterbury friends, they’re genuinely excited about their player list for next season. I can’t say the same for the Dragons faithful.
The three announced last week were Aaron Woods, Jack Gosiewski and Tautau Moga, they join Moses Mbye, Jaydn Su’A, Francis Molo, Moses Suli and George Burgess as the new faces in the red and white.
How would you score the recruiting campaign out of 10?
The points raised with me was how has the roster actually improved? Particularly after the loss of Dufty, Cam McInnes, Paul Vaughan, Corey Norman, Adam Clune and Jordan Pereira.
What was the strategy going into the campaign? What were the areas they needed to improve?
The key as I see it to the Dragons’ chances is the young players we saw filtering through over the last 12 to 18 months.
Their development needs to be fast-tracked – if they step up as a collective, Dragons will be a top eight hope, if not, well 11th on the ladder could be a repeat performance in 2022.