The St George Illawarra Dragons have made the shock call to take up an option in their favour to keep Anthony Griffin at the club as head coach for an extra season.

The decision to extend the contract of Griffin will mean he remains the coach of the joint venture club until at least the end of 2023.

The option being in the club's favour meant they could have taken much of the season to come up with a decision on Griffin, however, the Red V have acted before a ball has been kicked in anger for 2022.

It could be called a case of déjà vu for the Dragons and their fans, who previously extended the contract of Griffin's predecessor Paul McGregor in April of 2019 - less than a quarter of the way through the season.

The decision was met with intense criticism. Despite the fact the club had made the second week of the finals the year before, the wheels had fallen off during the second half of 2018, and continued to do so in 2019, with McGregor coaching the Dragons to the club's worst finish - 15th place.

NRL Rd 4 - Bulldogs v Dragons
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 08: Head coach Paul McGregor of the Dragons answers questions at the press conference after losing the round four NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Bankwest Stadium on June 08, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

He was unceremoniously dumped by the club in August of 2020, with Griffin eventually named as the next coach of the club, signing a two-year deal for 2021 and 2022, with the option for 2023.

Despite no other clubs reportedly showing interest in Griffin, and the Dragons finishing with an 8 and 16 record last year to narrowly avoid a bottom-four finish, club chief executive Ryan Webb said Griffin was having a strong influence on the team.

"The club has undertaken a lot of change in the last 18 months and Anthony has played a positive role, both on and off the field," Webb said in a statement.

"The board and I feel Anthony is the right man to continue setting the required standards to return the Dragons back to where they belong."

Griffin said that the club was heading in the right direction.

"I am very appreciative to extend my time as head coach of the Dragons," Griffin said.

"We are heading in the right direction, and myself and all the great people at the club are determined to play our roles in bringing future success to the Dragons.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far and I'm excited by what's to come this season and beyond.

"The challenge of a new year starts this weekend in our first trial against Parramatta, and my immediate focus remains on a strong preparation for the upcoming season."

The option being taken will see Griffin's career move into a tenth season during 2023, having previously spent time at the Broncos and Panthers.


  1. I’m struggling to understand the logic behind this.

    Maybe the club wants to make an ostentatious display of support for the coach to hose down media speculation that he is under pressure, and to reassure the players that there is stability in the coaching ranks, and that they can and should focus on the season ahead.

    I understand why they would want to do that. What I don’t understand is why they should do it right now, before the season has even started. If the Dragons lose most of their four opening games then regardless of whether or not the coach has been re-signed, he will be under pressure and the players will be thinking about the chances of bailing out.

    So, other than committing themselves to a larger payout if they sack him, what has the board achieved by extending his contract?

  2. What a disgraceful decision by the clowns on the board. This club needs to be continual cellar dwellers but even then this useless bunch won’t change course. Guy finishes 2021 with 8 losses in a row, a club record and was punted from his previous clubs and we renew the contract before season kicks off. I’d rather have Price back than Griffin. Very hard to keep following this mob as we are now at 10 years of diabolical tripe since Bennett left, and still counting.

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