TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 21: Matt Dufty of the Dragons runs the ball during the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the St George Illawarra Dragons at 1300SMILES Stadium on July 21, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

St George Illawarra Dragons fullback Matt Dufty faces an uncertain future with the club after injuring his AC joint in the loss to the Melbourne Storm on Sunday.

The out-of-contract fullback's stint on the sidelines is unfortunate timing as coach Anthony Griffin wants to see more improvement before re-signing him to a renewed deal.

"He’s good, he’s been improving (but) he needs to," Griffin said after the win over Parramatta, per Fox Sports.

"He needs to keep improving to unlock his potential. That’s the challenge with a lot of us. He’s always been great with the ball, that’s never been a question, it’s about mastering his craft as a fullback at this level."

Embed from Getty Images

The injury means winger Cody Ramsey will be shifted to fullback, a move that will have Dufty anxiously observing to see if the young gun fits the mould.

Fullback has always been Ramsey's preferred position according to, and Dragons captain Ben Hunt believes he'll impress as he gets his opportunity at the position.

"I think it is a good opportunity and it is good for the club to see what we have got in Cody Ramsey," Hunt said.

"He trained a lot there during the pre-season, and played a bit in trial games and had flashes of excitement, so I think it is a good opportunity to really see what he has got."

Embed from Getty Images

Dufty had already outlined that negotiations with the club were a 50/50 scenario, so the shoulder injury added to Ramsey's new opportunity places further doubt on his future.

There is currently no timeframe on Dufty's return, but he will be monitored from week-to-week to determine a return date for the fullback.

The injury has added further headaches to Griffin's selection for this weekend's clash with arch-rivals Cronulla, with Mikaele Ravalawa, Tyrell Fuimaono, Tariq Sims and Josh McGuire all sidelined through suspension.

Opportunities have opened up to accommodate Ramsey in the No.1 jumper, with Max Feagai given the nod for a wing spot, while Billy Burns has been named in the centres alongside Jack Bird.