Matt Dufty has his eyes on a fullback spot. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Matt Dufty has his eyes on a fullback spot. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Dufty eyes decade as Dragons’ fullback

Matt Dufty wants to be wearing the Dragons' No.1 jumper not just this year but for the next 10.

And in a sign of his commitment to the club that gave him his start, the 23-year-old local junior has extended his deal at St George Illawarra until the end of 2021.

Dufty received interest from rival clubs after Corey Norman's arrival but was adamant he never seriously contemplated leaving, even before he found out skipper Gareth Widdop would be returning to England at the end of this year.

"There were a few (rival clubs) interested but I never ­really pursued it because the Dragons were always honest with me," Dufty said.

"When the whole Gaz-Normy thing happened, the club was still keen to sign me for another two years. That made me happy."

Asked if he still had his sights on playing fullback this year, he said: "Definitely. I 100 per cent want to be in the team this year, and hopefully keep that fullback spot.

"I'd like to play here at the Dragons for 10 years if I get the opportunity."

Dufty sought advice from hooker Cameron McInnes when outside talk started that his future at the club might be in jeopardy.

But McInnes simply told him to back himself through hard work.

"If there is anyone who works the hardest in the team it is definitely Cam," Dufty said. "He just lives and breathes footy and he is a good mate of mine.

"So when I had some issues I just talked to him and he helped me get through it all.


Matt Dufty is a noted tryscorer. Picture: Brett Costello
Matt Dufty is a noted tryscorer. Picture: Brett Costello

"A couple of years ago, when I was 20, maybe if this happened I probably would have kicked stones and had a sook.

"But I think playing the last two years, you have to be mentally tough to play in the NRL because rarely everything goes your way.

"I have the full support of the people in the team, so it wasn't a hard decision to stay at the club.

"I know we have a squad to do something special. I thought it was in my best ­interests to stay."

The Dragons will play their first trial against Newcastle on Saturday night at Jubilee and Dufty can't wait to get on the field. Coach Paul McGregor is still keeping everyone guessing as to who will be playing where, and Dufty said that ­extended to the players.

Dufty said there was every chance that he, Norman and Widdop could be on the field at the same time.

McInnes has also spent time training at lock over the summer and Ben Hunt at hooker, although most likely Norman will start the season partnering Hunt in the halves, with Widdop at fullback.

While Dufty is smart enough to realise that he will have his work cut out getting first crack, he also knows fortunes in rugby league can turn quickly.

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