St George Illawarra are reportedly close to signing Jason Ryles as their new head coach, with negotiations reportedly intensifying this week. While Ryles’ management initially pushed for a five-year deal, an agreement is being worked on that would secure Ryles at the club until 2027. This would be a massive show of faith in Ryles as a rookie coach, but would also provide him with enough security to take on his first head coaching role. The deal would also prevent him from waiting for Craig Bellamy‘s retirement in Melbourne.
If the deal goes through, Ryles could get to work with the club within days. However, he would not be able to step into the coaching role just yet, as Ryan Carr will remain as interim coach for the rest of the season. Instead, Ryles will use this time to assess the club’s roster and make any necessary changes to the football department.
The Dragons‘ pursuit of Ryles came after considering other contenders, including South Sydney assistant and former Dragons captain Ben Hornby and Todd Payten‘s Cowboys deputy Dean Young. However, Ryles emerged as the clear choice for the Dragons.
Ryles has been an assistant at the Roosters since 2022, but it is believed that he remained at home during their recent Central Coast camp, where three-time premiership-winning coach Trent Robinson led the team. This was in order to prioritize the development of aspiring coaches and club legends Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner.
The Dragons are facing an uphill battle as they sit at the bottom of the ladder after their recent defeat to the Dolphins. They will face tough opposition in their next five matches against top-eight teams such as the Panthers, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Sharks, and Raiders.
Negotiations between Ryles’ management and the Dragons are expected to intensify this week, and a deal could be struck soon. While the offer may be seen as a huge show of faith in Ryles, it could also be the break he needed to make it to the top of the coaching ranks.