Dragons Star Lomax Axed by Coach Griffin
St George Illawarra Dragons’ prominent centre, Zac Lomax, has been unexpectedly dropped by coach Anthony Griffin as he seeks a solution to reignite the team’s performance.
Lomax was informed of the decision on Tuesday morning, and he was visibly upset.
The Dragons have been struggling, losing their last four games, including the Anzac Day clash, by a single point. Lomax’s inadequate goal-kicking has been a significant contributing factor.
Griffin’s Tactical Changes Fail to Deliver
At the start of the season, Coach Griffin decided to move Lomax from the right side to the left side, but this move has not produced the desired results.
Lomax was told by the Dragons coach that he needed to “rest,” While he will be spared from playing in NSW Cup, Lomax was not pleased with being excluded from Magic Round.
Lomax’s Contract and Position-Shift
Lomax is under contract until 2025, with an option for 2026. He is believed to earn around $550,000 per season, potentially increasing if he exercises the 2026 option.
Griffin had moved Lomax from right to left centre this season to eliminate his risky one-handed flick pass and strengthen the Red V’s left-edge defence.
Goal-Kicking Issues Leave Fans Frustrated
The Dragons’ goal-kicking woes have infuriated fans, with the team scoring three tries against the Gold Coast in round six, only to lose 20-18 due to a missed Lomax conversion.
Similarly, the Red V and the Green Machine each scored three tries in their match, but Lomax missed three conversions, resulting in a 20-14 loss for the Dragons.
In the Anzac Day game, the Dragons scored five tries to the Roosters’ four, but Lomax’s two missed conversions led to a 27-26 Roosters victory, thanks to a Luke Keary field goal.
Lomax’s Kicking Performance Decline
After working with renowned goal-kicker Daryl Halligan, Lomax changed his kicking tee in the off-season.
However, switching from a high to a low kicking tee has negatively impacted his conversion percentage.
In 2022, Lomax had a success rate of 78%, kicking 71 goals from 91 attempts. However, his success rate has dropped to 60.5% this season, with 23 goals from 38 attempts.
Coach Griffin’s Bold Decision: A Gamble
Griffin’s choice to drop Lomax is risky, given the player’s untapped potential and the likelihood of rival coaches wanting to give him a chance to realize his talent.
Lomax displayed his attacking prowess in the recent round nine loss to the Bulldogs, making a long-range bust and throwing a perfect pass for Mathew Feagai to score the Dragons’ opening try.
Upcoming Magic Round Match
On Sunday, the St George Illawarra Dragons will face the Wests Tigers in the Magic Round. Mikale Ravalawa is expected to return from a hamstring injury, and one of the Feagai brothers is likely to replace Lomax in the centres.