SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 04: Panthers coach Anthony Griffin speaks to the media during the post match press conference after the round one NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Penrith Panthers at UOW Jubilee Oval on March 4, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

New St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin has declared the club does not need to rebuild in their bid to bounce back from a disappointing campaign.

Griffin wants to sign two experienced forwards in this off-season period, but doesn’t believe the Dragons need a full rebuild to rise up the ladder in 2021, believing the club’s home-grown talent will play a key role.

The Dragons have been linked with Brisbane duo Jack Bird and Joe Ofahengaue as potential signings once a release from the Broncos goes through.

The Dragons made their first signing earlier in the month by signing Roosters forward Poasa Faamausili to a two-year deal, and Griffin says the club will look to add a couple more.

“It’s that trading time of the year at the moment,” Griffin told theย Sydney Morning Herald.ย 

“A lot of clubs are in that mode. We’ve got a little bit of cap space at the moment and we’ll be looking to add a couple more before Christmas.

“There will be a big focus on building from within, but in the short term it would be great to get a couple of experienced forwards into the pack.”

Griffin has set some ambitious goals for 2021, believing the Dragons could be a finals contender in 2021 despite finishing well below a finals spot in the last two seasons.

He believes a big key to the Dragons’ success lay with playmaker Ben Hunt and taking his game to another level.

“[Cooper] Cronk’s gone, [Jonathan] Thurston’s gone, [James] Maloney’s gone … there’s a lot of good playmakers gone out of the game,” Griffin said.

“It’s time for guys like Ben and [Daly] Cherry-Evans to be the leading playmakers in the competition. I think Ben’s got the potential to do that as well.

“The identity of this club can be built from within. There’s enough there to be able to produce our own team in years to come.

“But we want to make play-offs, we want to play finals football, and every club looks to do that at the start of the year and I think we’ve got a list capable of doing that.

“We’re not here to rebuild, or to ask for time, we’re here to perform from day one. That will be my responsibility and the players from the time we get together.”


  1. Since the departures of Tyson Frizell & Jacob Host the Red V’s back row stock are very thin, with Tariq Sims, Blake Lawrie, Jackson Ford, Trent Merrin and Tyrell Fuimaono the only genuine contenders at this stage, and let’s face it, Sims had a disappointing season and Merrin is not the player he used to be.
    Whoever the club can attract is anyone’s guess, and it’s important for them to sign experienced back rowers of quality, not quantity.

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