Dragons Miss Coaching Target and Lose Sponsor

Ben H / 6 June 2023

Despite reports saying that it was only a matter of time before Jason Ryles became the coach of St George Illawarra, the move hasn’t materialized. Instead, Ryles has decided to rejoin the Melbourne Storm and work as an assistant to Craig Bellamy after the Roosters terminated his contract.

Jason Ryles Shifts to the Storm

The former Roosters assistant hasn’t been given any guarantees that he will succeed Bellamy in the future, though. However, he is now the front-runner to take over from the seasoned coach when he moves to a director role. Ryles will join the Storm in time for the 2024 pre-season.

Ryles rejected the Dragons as St George Illawarra lost its main sponsor. St George Bank withdrew from its partnership with the Dragons, after sponsoring the Dragons for over 45 years and the announcement coincided with Ryles snubbing St George Illawarra.

Hornby and Young are Favourites for the Dragons’ Job

With Ryles no longer an option for the Dragons, they will turn to South Sydney assistant Ben Hornby and Cowboys’ Dean Young. Reports say that Dragons’ chief executive Ryan Webb hopes they can appoint a new coach as soon as possible so that the new man has time to get the roster ready for next season.

The Dragons’ front office also hopes that by appointing a prominent coach, they could attract high-profile players to join the team. Luring big-name players has been a problem for St George Illawarra after the Dragons missed out on the finals four seasons in a row.

The Timing Wasn’t Right

Ryles and Bellamy won two premierships together. That was one of the reasons why Ryles decided to rejoin the Storm. The coach said he had “an enormous amount of respect for the club” and couldn’t wait to start working again with Bellamy and the football department.

Another reason why Ryles rejected the Dragons’ coaching role in favour of another assistant job is timing. Ryles said he made the decision after talking to his family and deciding it was the best for his “coaching growth and development.”

Dragon’s chief executive Webb shared those sentiments and said St George Illawarra had “a process in place” where they were talking to candidates, but that it was evident that the timing of the job opening wasn’t right for Ryles. Webb added that they would now go back to their recruitment process and look at the other candidates.

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Ben H
Ben Harris is the Communications Manager for KRUZEY, an AFL expert, and writer. He has one daughter that he loves dearly and four children's books... [Read full bio]

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