Following the ARLC’s landmark decision to suspend Jack De Belin indefinitely, Dragons coach Paul McGregor is set to shift NSW and Australian representative Tyson Frizell into the no. 13 jersey.
Having not received any clarification from the NRL in regard to a salary cap exemption for the now absent De Belin, McGregor has opted to shift workhorse back-rower Tyson Frizell to the middle of the field, rather than sign a replacement.
McGregor told the Sydney Morning Herald that he gauged Frizell’s thoughts on the move following the suspension handed down by the ARLC, to which Frizell responded: “I’ll do whatever you need me to do coach.”
“It was more an understanding of ‘this has happened’, and ‘how do you feel about it?’, and he said ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to win” McGregor told The Herald.
McGregor also consulted the Dragons’ leadership group about the positional shift, who all agreed with their coach in regard to Frizell’s shift to the middle.
The shift is being done with an eye to playing one of either Luciano Leilua or Jacob Host in Frizell’s now vacant edge position.
On paper, the move makes the most sense for St George Illawarra as it will cause a minimal fuss in their preparation. This is due to Frizell having started at lock for NSW, as well as having regular cameos in the middle for the Dragons in 2018.
Sadly for the Dragons, Frizell doesn’t have the same engine as De Belin, and hence won’t be able to reproduce the 80-minute performances that his NSW teammate did last year for his club side. As a result of this Frizell will share the load with new signing Korbin Sims, who was one of the Dragons best starting at lock in their first trial against the Knights.
Frizell and his Dragons kick off their season on March 16th against the Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium.