Flanagan wants off-contract Sloan as Dragons No.1

Scott Bailey |

The Dragons are looking to secure 21-year-old Tyrell Sloan as their long-term No.1.
The Dragons are looking to secure 21-year-old Tyrell Sloan as their long-term No.1.

Shane Flanagan sees Tyrell Sloan as St George Illawarra’s long-term No.1, adamant the Dragons want to keep the young star in Wollongong.

Sloan is off contract at the end of this year, with negotiations between the Dapto junior and Dragons management crawling along.

The Dragons have one of the biggest salary-cap arsenals in the NRL, with big money available for 2025 and beyond.

They have made no secret of their desire to attract talent, including vocalising an audacious play for Joey Manu in the off-season before he signed with rugby.

The Dragons have also met with Penrith flyer Sunia Turuva, who has the potential to be a fullback in the long term.

Regardless, Flanagan says Sloan is the man he wants at No.1.

“Tyrell is 21, and the Turuva bit,  he could be at Penrith, so there is no use talking about it,” he said. 

Shane Flanagan
Coach Shane Flanagan (pictured) sees Tyrell Sloan as the Dragons’ long-term No.1. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

“Tyrell was outstanding for us last week. He’s 21 years of age. He’s got a big future. He wants to stay here and we want to keep him. 

“The development of Tyrell over this year and next year, hopefully he is the long-term fullback for the club. 

“Because they’re hard to find in any of those key positions, so he’s on the right track.”

Sloan has been one of the stars of the Dragons’ revival this year under new coach Flanagan, with four wins in seven rounds compared with five through all of 2023.

The fullback’s seven tries have him equal-third in the league, and his 90-metre effort against the Warriors last Friday showcased his silky speed.

“We’re endeavouring to keep Sloany,” Flanagan said. 

“We’re in discussions with his management company. It hasn’t been quick, but we would like to think that gets done.”

Flanagan also has other more immediate decisions to make on his backline, with Jack Bird returning from concussion against the Sydney Roosters at centre.

Mikaele Ravalawa has been ruled out of the Anzac Day clash with knee soreness.

It means Zac Lomax’s return to the centres is short-lived, with the departing Dragon reverting to the right wing while Christian Tuipulotu stays on the left one.

But beyond this week, Flanagan must decide what to do with Lomax and Bird.

One option would be to keep Bird at centre and Lomax on the wing, as he did in the first six rounds.

Alternatively, he could grant Lomax his wish of staying in the centres and play Bird off the bench as a utility. 

Lomax has been a star on the wing for the Dragons this season, but was equally impressive against the Warriors when moved to the centres role he has long craved.

“There’s a few options there, isn’t there?” Flanagan said. 

“You get a feel as a coach what’s the best situation, how players are in form, combinations, so we’ll think about that.”

The Roosters have also lost winger Daniel Tupou to a knee injury and Victor Radley to a hamstring, with Michael Jennings and Siua Wong coming into the side.

AAP