The Dragons have struggled to deal with Tryell Sloan, who Mick Ennis labeled a “shadow of himself” compared to the rising star he was 12 months ago.
St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin dropped Sloan in Sunday’s win over the Raiders.
Sloan was considered one of the competition’s most exciting young talents heading into 2022, but has only played six games this season.
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The 20-year-old has been used off the bench in the last two weeks before being subbed off late in the game against Canberra.
“I feel sorry for Tyrell Sloan, I feel sorry for the Dragons fans,” Ennis said on Fox League before the game.
“You only have to go back 12 months ago and the Dragons were showing good signs and there was a lot of optimism going into 2022.
“Sloan is full of confidence and was playing fantastic footy towards the end of last year. Jayden Sullivan, we’ve been seeing some interesting things from him, but he hasn’t shown up. We see Tyrell Sloan come off the bench.
Panthers standout Greg Alexander said it was tough to ask a young fullback to come off the bench and make an impact.
“It’s a tough thing – being a fullback and coming off the bench,” Alexander said.
“You have to throw yourself into the game when it’s suddenly something you’re not used to doing. Fullbacks don’t start on the bench.”
Bright Anasta believes there must be more to the story to explain Sloan’s lack of minutes this season.
“To see Tyrell Sloan, one of the best in his age group, go from where he was to where he has been recently, there has to be a communication or communication breakdown,” Anastas said.
“It’s hard to watch because you know he’s a hell of a lot better. But there’s obviously a lot more going on behind the scenes.
Ennis coached Sloan in the New South Wales under-19 side and the young gun has endured a major fall from grace.
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“He was a year young and he was very tough and had a lot of confidence around him and when I saw him play in first grade last year I was like, ‘I’m so excited’ and I went to see his smile and the joy he was playing,” Ennis said.
“Watching him last week looked like a shadow in itself and it’s a shame because 12 months ago he was set to leave the Dragons and the future looked bright for these young stars.
The problem they have now is that the experienced guys that he (Griffin) has invested in are not doing anything and also the young guys have lost confidence when they trust them. They’ve been hearing that they’re trying to sign long-serving 32-year-old Ben Hunt – and why not? He’s had a great season – but he’s 32.
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“The Tyrell Sloan situation, I had Mugi out for the Charity Shield and he was brilliant. “I thought he was in for a big season,” Alexander said.
“Had a tough night with the Sharks in the pouring rain. He is a lightweight player, he is not a big body and can be tough on a wet night. I thought he had a tough night bringing the ball back when he was only 85 pounds, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to miss the rest of the season. Playing Moses Mbi at fullback – why? I know Cody Ramsey is hurt… but why?”
“They’re a mess, a real mess,” Ennis added.
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