After all of the excitement of last week at Dragons HQ, this week has been quite subdued.
But there have been a number of interesting media reports out this week that deserve examination.
The long-standing rumour among Dragons fans was that Shane Flanagan is the head coach in waiting once his ban ends in 2022. Flanagan was ghost-coaching McGregor anyway.
However, after Paul McGregor stepped down last week, this has now all changed. Unless Flanagan is able to have his ban reduced by 12 months the Dragons will most likely move on without him with a different experienced head coach.
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The pressure on Flanagan increased even further this week when news broke that Cronulla are in talks with current coach John Morris to extend his contract. This leaves Flanagan in a tight spot. Without his ban being reduced Flanagan will be on JobSeeker in 2021.
Gus Gould chipped in with his own opinion this week, stating that the Dragons should learn the lessons of the past and steer away from hiring rookie coaches, referencing Nathan Brown, Steve Price and McGregor. He also confirmed that Ben Hornby was let go in favour of Shane Flanagan in the hope that a senior coach could advise McGregor and coach the coach.
Well, the question needs to be asked, if there were such concerns about McGregor at board level after the Gus review last off-season, why did the club persist with McGregor in 2020? We were doomed from the very start. It’s a joke really.
Dean Young announced his team for his first game in charge this week and it did raise some eyebrows. Paul Vaughan is coming off the bench because his COVID-19 ban prevents him from training with the team until Thursday and Tristan Sailor has been dropped entirely from the 17.
I actually don’t know how badly Corey Norman needs to play before he gets benched or dropped? Considering Sailor has had no Canterbury Cup this year, Sailor has played well in the very limited opportunities he’s been given. It’s a mystery to me.
First up Dean Young has the Brisbane Broncos, a club in disarray and a good chance for a first-up win.
Tyrell Fuimaono lost at the player judiciary, rubbing him out for two weeks. He’ll likely be replaced by Trent Merrin in the 17. I’d like to see Jacob Host start on the left edge. His form has been great recently.
In team news, Sailor, Jacob Host and Kaide Ellis remain the only players unsigned for 2021. Ian Millward needs to get his act together and lock these guys in.
In further signing news the Dragons are pursuing Melbourne Storm forward Christian Welch. Welch debuted for Melbourne in 2015 and Queensland in 2019. At 26 years old, 195 centimetres tall and 110 kilograms, he’d be a handy acquisition.
If we miss out on Welch like we did with Adam Elliott and Corey Harawira-Naera plus the loss of Tyson Frizell, the question needs to be asked what exactly is Ian Millward doing?