Blake Lawrie will be the third captain the Dragons use this year. Jake de Belin took skipper duties when Ben Hunt was absent, but St George Illawarra reportedly thought Lawrie was a better option.
Club sources said Lawrie could have been given the skipper role earlier had he not been injured in late May when the Dragons lost to the Dolphins and Jake de Belin captained the team.
Seeing how Ben Hunt has asked the club to leave and this will likely be his last year with the team, Lawrie is expected to guide the Dragons beyond this season too.
Despite being one of the longest-serving players in the club, the Raiders game on Friday will be Lawrie’s first shot at captaincy. Lawrie recently extended his contract and will stay with the Dragons until 2026. He will also be one of the crucial players for new Dragons coach Shane Flanagan whose main goal will be to transform and rejuvenate the team.
De Belin’s Controversial Appointment as Captain
When de Belin was appointed captain in May, he said that it meant the world to him and it felt “super satisfying” he could lead the club after all the things he went through. Because of the league’s no-fault stand-down policy, De Belin had to watch from the sidelines for two years, as he was fighting sexual assault allegations.
He was found not guilty by a jury on the second trial on one of the charges. The jury couldn’t reach a conclusion on the other five charges and the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to put the player through a third trial. So, de Belin was allowed to return to the fold.
De Belin played his 200th NRL match against the Warriors a couple of weeks ago, becoming only the sixth player in the history of the Dragons. However, St George Illawarra lost that and the game against the Sharks, conceding 100 points in both matches in the process.
The Dragons have eight more matches to play but will face an uphill struggle not to finish last, as they face the Eels, Warriors, Storm, and Rabbitohs among others.
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