Dragons delighted Lomax saga finally over

Jasper Bruce |

Zac Lomax may not enjoy playing on the wing, but he has excelled there for the Dragons this season.
Zac Lomax may not enjoy playing on the wing, but he has excelled there for the Dragons this season.

St George Illawarra’s Zac Lomax saga is finally over now the disgruntled centre has agreed terms with Parramatta, Dragons coach Shane Flanagan says.

Despite excelling in the position, Lomax’s frustration at being shifted to the wing overshadowed the Dragons’ start to the season and the club this month relented to his request for a release.

On Tuesday, the Eels – who had been linked with the 24-year-old for weeks – announced they had signed Lomax to a four-year contract that will begin in 2025.

Flanagan said he was “dead-set sick” of talking about the Lomax saga when quizzed earlier this month, but was less prickly in his first interview since the Eels made the signing public.

“It hasn’t really interrupted us, bar the external noise (but) I’d like to think that it’s put to bed now,” Flanagan said.

“To Zac’s credit, look at his form – it’s been outstanding so it hasn’t affected him.

“When he’s been at training and within the playing group, he’s been fantastic.

“There’s a lot of players that aren’t going to be at the club they’re at at the moment next year. He’s one of them, so we’ll just move on.”

As luck would have it, Lomax’s first chance to start in his preferred position this season will come in his first game since signing elsewhere.

Lomax will line up at centre against the Warriors on Friday night, replacing the concussed Jack Bird in his 100th NRL game.

The shift will allow off-season recruit Christian Tuipulotu to make his club debut, though Flanagan was coy over which wing the former Manly flyer would line up on.

“He came late to the club, after Christmas, and he had to learn a few things and get himself ready to play for us,” Flanagan said of Tuipulotu.

“He’s done that, he’s played well in reserve grade and he deserves his chance.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing him play tomorrow.”

Tuipulotu was one of a handful of late signings for the Dragons during the off-season, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Luciano Leilua also joining in the new year.

Flanagan is finally comfortable with the Dragons’ roster for his first season in charge, after journeyman utility Fa’amanu Brown this week filled the last spot in the top-30 roster.

“There were a couple of sleepless nights there around Christmas time, worrying about where we are come round one, but it’s sort of fallen into place,” the coach said.