NRL Rd 18 - Dragons v Raiders
WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Cody Ramsey of the Dragons celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the round 18 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canberra Raiders at WIN Stadium on September 12, 2020 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Dragons’ back five starting spots are set to be under immense competition in 2021, with a number of promising names – new and old – contending for a place on Anthony Griffin’s starting side, per The Daily Telegraph.

Cody Ramsey had plenty of Saints fans out of their seats in 2020, with promising teenage pairing Max and Mat Feagai also making an impact on the senior squad.

With the inclusion of Jack Bird from Brisbane and a number of incumbents dropping in form toward the pointy end of the season, key positions across Griffin’s walk-on side are up for grabs.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Griffin revealed that Bird is likely to return to the Red V via the bench, opening up opportunities for several young Dragons.

“He hasn’t played much footy in the last two to three years so there won’t be an expectation that he hits the ground and has to play 80 minutes every week,” Griffin said.

“I don’t want to push him. I want to make sure he is comfortable and to get some miles into his legs.”

After a sensational 2020 campaign, Zac Lomax is sure to have the right centre position covered, leaving Max Feagai, Bird and Brayden Wiliame in a scrap to pair with Lomax next season.

Wiliame was on the outer of the St George Illawarra starting side late into the season and is aware of the players pressing for his position under Griffin.

“With a bloke like Birdy, he is a footy player so wherever you put him he is going to thrive and he is going to shine. He just needs to get his body right and wherever he gets put in he’s going to do his job plus more,” Wiliame said.

“Pressure wise, I seem to thrive under that sort of pressure. I wasn’t guaranteed anything last year and I came in and had a big pre-season and it feels exactly the same with a new set of coaching staff to impress.

“The Feagai boys and Cody Ramsey are going to be the ones that will come through the quickest.

 

Junior Amone, he’s impressed me with his training. Real aggressive for a little dude and he’s only 18.

“The young guys are really good, they are stars of the future and I know that.

“It’s healthy competition. I don’t take it personally and they are really good kids as well so I’m enjoying training with them at the moment.”

Matt Dufty will likely hold onto the No.1 jumper next year, with Jordan Pereira and Mikaele Ravalawa the next in the ranks to fight for a flyer spot alongside Ramsey in 2021.