Struggling NRL teams should pounce on discarded Dragons fullback Matt Dufty, says Phil Gould.
Negotiations between Dufty, one of the club’s best performers, and the Dragons over a new deal have stalled in recent months with the club re-signing young star Cody Ramsey to a three-year extension.
Taking a look at Dufty’s stats – you can understand why Dragons fans and commentators are scratching their heads over the impasse.
Dragons eager to move Dufty on
In 10 games this season Dufty has crossed for eight tries, dished up five try assists, 33 tackle breaks and six line breaks along with an average of 146 running metres-a-game. In 77 NRL appearances Dufty has scored 42 tries.
His positive influence on the Saints’ attack leads Gould to believe there must be more to the story about the Dragons’ reluctance to keep Dufty at the club.
“It can’t possibly be about the football it’s got to be about something else,” Gould told Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.
“The Dragons over the last couple of years when they’ve had a run of outs they’ve put him back in the team and all of a sudden they start winning games and score tries.
Dufty scores with ‘razzle dazzle’
“He’s played a big hand in a number of games they’ve won this year. Particularly all the try-scoring moments Matt Dufty is around them. If he’s not scoring them himself he’s throwing select passes.”
Griffin denied Dufty’s likely exit was not related to football, telling reporters this week the club had salary cap pressures and were going in a different direction.
“Matt’s a good person,” Griffin said. “I’ve never had a problem with him.
“He’s a good guy and I hope he gets picked up elsewhere.”
Gould said teams who lacked strike power in their back-line would be silly not to consider signing Dufty next season.
“He’s such a creative player. If I was doing recruitment for a team struggling to score points Matt Dufty is one of the players on the market that can help you. He can come in and do something for your team.”
It’s believed the Dragons are keen on free agent Nicho Hynes who looks set to leave Melbourne at the end of the season in search of a starting role.
The Broncos have also identified Hynes as a top priority for 2022 but if the fallen glamour club loses the race for the Storm star then Dufty has been linked with them as the next best option.
Hynes opens up on next NRL contract
While Hynes is viewed as a big target for the club, Gould believes youngster Cody Ramsey provides Dragons officials with an insurance policy at fullback next season. After impressing at the 2020 Nines tournament, Ramsey has six tries in 13 appearances in the top grade since making his NRL debut in Round 18 last season.
The legendary coach claims there’s no way Anthony Griffin would give up on Dufty without having a back-up plan.
“Cody Ramsey trained the house down this summer he easily wins everything that they do and Anthony Griffin likes those sort of players,” Gould said.
“They immediately re-signed Ramsey to an extended deal for three years to be the future fullback.
“That’s where he has played in the junior reps coming through and he’s been a stand-out. He probably debuted a season too late. If he had been anywhere else he would have been in first grade.”
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