The St George Illawarra Dragons are scrambling to win over influential board member, Peter Doust, who has been strongly opposed to the idea of hiring Shane Flanagan as their new head coach. With Jason Ryles having chosen to sign with the Melbourne Storm, Flanagan has emerged as a potential candidate for the Dragons, but the board must be unanimous in its decision. While Dean Young has the support of the St George side of the board, some believe the club needs a more experienced coach like Flanagan. However, Flanagan comes with baggage after being banned for breaking the conditions of his suspension during the Cronulla Sharks peptide scandal.
Despite criticism following a below-par Origin I performance, Blues coach Brad Fittler has backed captain James Tedesco and refuses to consider dropping him for Origin II in Brisbane. Nick Politis, has also defended him, insisting that anyone who thinks dropping him is a good idea “has rocks in their head.” Tedesco’s underwhelming performance in Origin I has been a subject of public scrutiny, with some questioning whether he should remain captain of the Blues.
Blues rookie Nicho Hynes was left devastated after the team’s Origin I loss to Queensland. Hynes has a reputation for being a perfectionist and was particularly hard on himself for the tackle he missed on Cameron Munster that led to Queensland taking the lead. Former Blues super sub, Craig Wing, empathizes with Hynes, acknowledging that the bench role is a tricky one, especially in the high-pressure environment of Origin. Nonetheless, Wing believes Hynes will bounce back from the disappointment.
Brandon Smith has been grappling with injury and poor form this season. To make matters worse, defamatory messages have been circulating about him, causing distress for the player and his family. It’s rumored that some of Smith’s teammates might be behind the messages, adding to his frustration and confusion. While Smith acknowledges that he’s made mistakes in his career and personal life, he’s working hard to improve and can’t understand why people would want to tear him down further.
Reports suggest that Nathan Cleary‘s underwhelming performance in Origin I could be attributed to issues with his wisdom teeth. While the initial story was dismissed as a light-hearted article, Blues adviser Greg Alexander confirmed that Cleary’s face had swollen on Monday, indicating that the issue was genuine. Whether or not this impacted Cleary’s performance remains unclear.