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Flanagan implores Sloan to continue to work on defence despite strong start to 2024


The St George Illawarra Dragons are one of the surprise stories of the 2024 NRL season after a respectable 2-2 start to the campaign.

Although inconsistency has been a major factor throughout the first four games, the improvement of young star Tyrell Sloan at fullback has been crucial in the first two wins.

Coming into the season with Zac Lomax breathing down his neck for the No.1 jersey, Sloan couldn’t have dreamed of a better start to 2024, managing six tries in four appearances.

With Sloan becoming one of the Dragons’ most dangerous pieces in attack, coach Shane Flanagan admitted his defensive IQ and capabilities have to start improving with the rest of his game.

“(He) scored two tries again and we know he can do that,” Flanagan told SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“It’s probably the other side of the football that we need to concentrate on.

“His defence and his line organisation, sometimes they find him on the try line, he’s not small but he’s not the biggest defensive player.

“So, we just need to turn that around and change his focus a little bit, if we can do that then I think we’re going to have a class player.

“He’s only 21, sometimes we forget (that because) he’s been around for a bit, but 21 and (he’s got) a big job at fullback for a team.

“We’ve got to be a little bit patient with him but when he gets it right, he gets it very right.”

Sloan’s excellent start at fullback in 2024 has meant that Lomax’s dream of moving away from the wing is seemingly fading away by the week.

With rumours swirling of an apparent rift between Lomax and Flanagan, the Dragons coach cleared the air on the speculation.

“Zac’s been fine, he’s been really good around the club, you can see by his performances that he’s not kicking stones,” Flanagan added.

“What happens down the track, I’ve got no idea really, to be honest, I’ve put my opinion to the board and the management of the club, and they’ll deal with that over the next six months.

“I’d like to think that Zac is here for 2024, that’s for sure.”

Lomax has starred on the wing in 2024 but has reportedly continued in his pursuit of an early release from his $880k per season deal.

The Dragons will be seeking two wins on the trot when they meet the Knights in Newcastle on Friday night.

St. George Illawarra Dragons Rugby League

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