Incoming Dragons coach Anthony Griffin has opened up on his appointment to the St George Illawarra post and outlined his plans to rebuild the club into a premiership force.
In a wide-ranging interview with NRL 360, Griffin detailed how to fix the battling club, who will be picking the team and what to do about Ben Hunt and Corey Norman.
Read on for Griffin’s breakdown of how he will attack one of the biggest jobs in the NRL.
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How Griffin will fix Dragons
NRL: Speaking on NRL 360 incoming Dragons coach Anthony Griffin outlines his plans for the joint venture club.
HOW DO YOU FIX THE DRAGONS?
Anthony Griffin: On the field to start with clearly defensively. They’ve conceded 23 to 24 points a season for the last two seasons. That probably comes back to the attitude and the way they train. The list. We need to get a harder edge on the squad. There is list management and they have lost some experience in Graham and Frizell.
WHAT’S YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE ROSTER?
AG: Forwards are the main one. They have some wonderful forwards coming through, but we need to get a really strong forward pack so there is not too much burden on those young developing players.
WHERE DO YOU PLAY HUNT AND NORMAN?
AG: They have quality playmakers with McInnes at hooker, Adam Clune, Sailor, Sullivan in the background. There is a lot of quality playmakers that have dropped out of the NRL in recent times. Ben Hunt went from within a play of steering a team to a grand final. I haven’t scratched him off as being a halfback. Corey Norman is an extremely talented classy player. Dufty is obviously one of the best attacking players in the league, so there is a lot of plusses. I think they are well placed but the act of putting them together and forming a combination is the trick in coaching. The best solution is what is best for the team, but what I know about Ben Hunt is that he is a high quality halfback. Obviously he hasn’t been performing. But whatever decision we make about where people play it will be the best decision for the team going forward.
How Griffin has grown sine Penrith
NRL: Anthony Griffin responds to Phil Gould and explains why he is a better coach today then he was when he got fired from the Panthers.
HOW QUICKLY CAN YOU GET THE TEAM TRAVELLING NORTH?
AG: I’d say very quickly. How far north is the question. Up until the last two weeks they had a really good period. There is a lot of green shoots in the club. Roster management for the start is the most important thing. I’m not in the bubble, so until I get in there day to day I can’t tell you what is going on. I think the key is to build from within and my expertise will be to help improve that.
WILL YOU GET TO PICK YOUR OWN TEAM?
AG: I think it is really important that you have a really strong circular and collaborative leadership model. Ian Millward has been there for a long time. We will make decision together. What I would say as a head coach there is a lot of weight that goes in your decision making. Whether it be selection or roster management or standards in the place and I will be having a strong say in that otherwise they wouldn’t have brought me into the job.
ARE YOU A BETTER COACH THAN WHEN YOU GOT SACKED BY PENRITH?
AG: I think I am. You learn your best lessons at the toughest times and that was a tough time for me professionally and personally. I took a lot of responsibility for how that ended and had a chance to self reflect. From the last football experience I had I thought we were really successful and the record speaks for itself there as far as the win ratio at the Panthers.
Gould openly slammed Griffin
NRL: Paul Kent said on NRL 360 that Gus Gould had openly slammed Anthony Griffin’s coaching style.
DOES DEAN YOUNG STAY ON THE COACHING STAFF?
AG: I’ve got a great relationship with Dean. I’ve known him for a while and I spent three weeks with him last year and I was really impressed with him. The standard of coach that he is and the quality of person and I’d want him to stay.
IS JACK DE BELIN PART OF THE SOLUTION?
AG: I don’t know. Obviously that is a legal matter and it will come to a head in November. If he is cleared and can play absolutely. Otherwise we will just sit and let that take its course.
Anthony Griffin on Fox League’s NRL 360.Source:FOX SPORTS
ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT COACHING A CLUB THAT SEEMS DIVIDED?
AG: I got no sense of that at all. My experience with the Dragons has been a good one. I don’t understand the merger and I imagine there would be issues when two clubs merge, but I haven’t experienced or felt any division.
CAN YOU WIN A PREMIERSHIP IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS?
AG: I don’t know, but anything is possible. I think we will be building towards one you can be sure of that. Whether we are close enough in two years I don’t know. Penrith are there now and that took three or four years. In two years I won’t say it won’t happen but we will be building towards getting in range if everything goes our way.
Originally published asNew coach’s plan for problem children
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