Dragons to address fans after potential NRL coach call

·3-min read

St George Illawarra bosses expect to front up to 400 members hours after potentially making a crucial decision on Anthony Griffin's future.

Dragons officials will meet for the scheduled monthly sit down on Tuesday morning, with Griffin's future as NRL coach certain to be on the agenda.

Following that, club powerbrokers will meet with members in Wollongong and via video link as tensions continue to rise within the Red V supporter base.

Around 80 are expected to attend the meeting in person, while up to another 300 are tipped to join online to hear out the club's hierarchy on the franchise's current plight.

There has been growing discontent from Dragons fans over the club's performances under Griffin, amid threats to protest at Friday night's game against the Sydney Roosters at Kogarah.

It appears only a matter of time until they get their way on the coach.

At the last board meeting in April, the availability of several potential options for 2024 were discussed should Griffin not be offered another contract.

In the time since the Dragons have lost all four games, with their current streak of defeats sitting at six and headlined by Saturday's 42-22 disappointment against North Queensland.

Jason Ryles remains the likely preferred option to take over at the club next season.

However, Craig Bellamy's decision to coach on until the end of 2024 could still potentially make the sell harder for the Dragons.

Ryles now has the option of seeing out his contract as an assistant at the Sydney Roosters, before moving to Melbourne in 2025 if Bellamy retires next year as expected.

If the Saints are to land Ryles, they will need to convince the former Dragon to leave the Tricolours early and that their junior base makes the job a better prospect than following Bellamy.

Roosters players backed Ryles to be a success as a head coach when asked on Monday, with Luke Keary comparing him to former assistant and now Cronulla mentor Craig Fitzgibbon.

"He reminds me of Fitzy so much," Keary said of Ryles.

"Fitzy was loved around here and you've seen what he's done now he's left.

"Rylesy is cut from very similar cloth, if he does end up (going), he'll do a good job."

If they can't do that, Ben Hornby is likely to be the Dragons' other option.

The 2010 premiership-winner has impressed at South Sydney, and previously served as an assistant at the Dragons during the Paul McGregor years.

Hornby is likely to be preferred ahead of fellow former assistant and ex-teammate Dean Young.

The club has distanced itself from former Wallabies coach Michael Chieka after an approach from his camp.

The other decision for the Dragons board to make is if a new voice is required immediately.

While Ryles, Hornby and Young are all employed elsewhere for this year, assistant coach Ryan Carr would be the most likely to take over for the rest of this year.