Dragons to boost forward pack in overhaul

Anthony Griffin (r) is keen to boost St George Illawarra's forward pack for next season.
Anthony Griffin (r) is keen to boost St George Illawarra's forward pack for next season.

Cash freed up from the departures of Corey Norman and Matt Dufty will be invested in St George Illawarra's forward pack amid a roster clean out of the battling NRL side.

Both Dufty and Norman have been told they won't be re-signed by the club at the end of the season with coach Anthony Griffin saying it was a sign of respect to be honest with the backline stars.

Since Griffin joined the Dragons at the start of the season, he has begun overhauling the roster.

He said on Friday he would continue to do so.

"We'll continue to try and build our forward pack over the next six months," he said ahead of Saturday's clash with Canberra.

"At the moment we're just dealing with what we've got to deal with in sorting out our list. The forward pack has always been our focus.

"At the moment we've got (Junior) Amone and (Jayden) Sullivan who are in our system, both have been elite halves in the juniors and lower grades.

"Jack Bird can play in the halves as well so we're well covered there."

Gerard Beale, Andrew McCullough and Josh McGuire have all joined the club under Griffin's reign, while Dufty, Norman and Cameron McInnes are on the way out at the end of the season.

After two wins from their past nine games, it's crucial the Dragons get their roster overhaul right with Griffin outlining the type of players he wants at the club.

"The simple things. Players who want to play for the team, their talent," he said.

"It's a funny thing building a list and roster management ... not just with our club but in other clubs, it's always a moving piece.

"I'm really happy with where we're heading at the moment."

News of Norman's future broke during last week's shock loss to Canterbury, leading to speculation the tough conversations had taken a toll on the playing group.

But Griffin said it was in the best interest of Norman and Dufty to play well over the last 10 games of the season.

"It's a sign of respect from our club to be honest with them and let them know where they stand so they can play well for our club, the club has been good to them in the time they're been here," Griffin said.

"Obviously they can play well to try and secure their future elsewhere.

"That all ties in together.

"If they don't play well individually it doesn't help them but also as a club we have a lot of respect for our players and I'm sure they'll repay that."

Meanwhile, Dufty is in doubt to play on Saturday with a shoulder injury while Zac Lomax is aiming for a return against Manly in round 18.

Australian Associated Press