Rugby League legend Laurie Daley is apparently in disbelief after reports surfaced that St George Illawarra Dragons coach Anthony Griffin was set to hand captaincy duties over to Jack de Belin this weekend.
Initially reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, de Belin was apparently deeply considered for the captaincy of the club for their bout against the Sydney Roosters this weekend.
De Belin, who's only six weeks removed from his infamous involvement in Paul Vaughan's Covid BBQ that was in breach of both the leagues and NSW's health protocols, was tipped by Griffin to replace the injured Ben Hunt and Andrew McCullough.
This decision was promptly met with resistance from Dragons executives, resulting in "an 11th-hour change of heart" and the insertion of Origin forward Tariq Sims as captain instead.
“I can’t believe they even considered him being the captain of the side given what he put them through the last four to six weeks,” Daley said on The Big Sports Breakfast.
“It has cost them their season, they could have played finals. I don’t think it was the right decision.
“I don’t know how he was thinking of putting him in that position. I think the Dragons executive team have made the correct decision by overriding him.”
De Belin is also only two months into his return to Rugby League following a nearly three-year hiatus under the NRL's no-fault stand down rule after fighting rape charges in court.
Charges made against de Belin were dropped in May of this year following two mistrials, making way for his return to the Dragons mid-season.
Griffin's hiring as head coach, along with the addition of Peter Gentle and Matthew Elliot to his staff, was intended to bring stability to an organisation that had seemingly gone adrift prior to his appointment.
The disbelief echoed by Daley, along with many other commentators, at Griffin's proposal for de Belin as captain stems from this supposed stability and discipline.
The Dragons currently sit only two points outside the top-eight with three games left for the season. The Red V faces a series of must-win clashes against the Roosters, Cowboys and Rabbitohs if they have any hope of a finals birth.
With a 2021 campaign derailed by off-the-field antics, Griffin will look to these last few weeks and the 2022 season to secure his job past the end of next year.
Something is seriously wrong here. Apart from the fact I questioned the signing of Griffin right from the start. This extremely poor decision that is now squashed is just one of many questionable decisions this year. Punting Cameron McInnes, Wanting to sign Israel Folau the letting go of Dufty. Illawarra Junior Tyran Wishart to Melbourne and not to mention all the ex-Broncos being signed who haven’t improve the teams performances nor the teams placement on the ladder. All this and haven’t even mentioned the discipline of the players who MUST as head coach respect (if not fear) him and really consider what the reactions will be from said coach should they do something STUPID. Fair dinkum, it’s hard for the team supporters when it’s one dumb decision after yet another loss, time and time again! Don’t believe for a second that the Paul Vaughan BBQ is what sent the season off the rails, as it was off long before that event. Next year is looking to be the same all over again…
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