St George Illawarra is set to appoint Jason Ryles as their new head coach following the departure of Anthony Griffin. The former Dragons player has been the club’s top target as they look to rebuild after a string of disappointing seasons. Although Ryles initially sought a five-year contract, both parties have agreed to a four-year deal to give the coach ample time to regenerate the team.
Ryles, who is expected to finish his coaching stint with the Roosters this week, will have a head start in building his team and support staff. The Dragons have also been in talks with former coach Nathan Brown and former South Sydney and Penrith CEO Shane Richardson about joining the club.
One of Ryles’ first tasks will be to provide reassurance to captain Ben Hunt, who has been a vocal supporter of Griffin and has been linked to other clubs in recent weeks. Additionally, Ryles will need to make decisions on whether to retain players such as Moses Mbye and Billy Burns, who are coming off contract at the end of the season. Jack De Belin and Mikaele Ravalawa also have options in their contracts for next season that they are yet to decide on.
As a former Dragons player who played over 150 first grade games for the club, Ryles is looking forward to the challenge of leading his former team. He has had a successful coaching career so far, serving as an assistant coach to esteemed coaches such as Craig Bellamy, Eddie Jones, and Trent Robinson. With a solid foundation of experience, Ryles is expected to bring a wealth of knowledge to the team.