Tyrell Sloan, the Dragons fullback, expressed his staunch intention to hold onto his position in the club, asserting that he can maintain the long-term top spot. Addressing suggestions pitchside, Sloan fiercely rebutted claims doubting his suitability for the vital role due to mental and physical endurance.
The 21-year-old used the interview platform to discuss the relevance of participating in the Annual Koori Knockout. Sloan recounted an unfortunate foot injury during the tournament which disrupted his pre-season training.
Desperate to keep his spot as a fullback, Sloan explained the experience of his 36 matches in his NRL career, with 32 as a fullback. While it’s a position he’s still growing into, he acknowledged that he’s refining his ability to deliver crucial moments in both offence and defence.
Although Zac Lomax has been testing his skills in the fullback position, Sloan isn’t unnerved by the competition. He recalled previous rivals such as Matt Dufty and Cody Ramsey, asserting that competition is a normal part of his career. He stated that he has faith in his skills and remains open to adapt to what’s best for the team despite their performance over the past three years.
When asked about defence, Sloan confessed that he might be lacking but promised he is tough enough for the challenge. He recounted a confrontation with head coach, Shane Flanagan, about his defensive performance and the development plan which had to be postponed due to his foot injury. Yet, he remains adamant he can improve his defensive skills.
According to Sloan, his time to shine in grade has come after three years of experience. With confidence, he is ready to tackle any position, even contemplating possible roles as a winger or five-eighth.
Defence, he openly admitted, is an area where he needs to improve. Despite his impressive record in attack, with 23 try and line break assists in the last season and his high fitness levels, his effective tackle percentage is one of the lowest in the competition. Sloan accepted this and expressed a desire to be the reliable player to make vital tackles.
Addressing the divisive issue of Koori Knockout participation, Sloan defended its importance to the Indigenous community, counting his foot injury as the cost of such an experience. Despite having had surgery for his injury, he aims to start running again in a week’s time.
As for the following year’s Knockout tournament, Sloan acknowledged the risks but commended the setup, lively atmosphere and its importance for the young players watching. Even with his current injury, he still has plans to make a good impression for the coming generation and hopes to join the following year’s Knockout, health permitting.