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HomeSportsDragons coach Anthony Griffin exploring options due to Cody Ramsey, Talatau Amone...

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin exploring options due to Cody Ramsey, Talatau Amone absences

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Dragons coach Anthony Griffin has revealed the club will explore their options heading into the season, with the absences of two of their brightest young stars putting them on the back-foot.

Cody Ramsey will miss the entire 2023 season, after being diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel condition known as ulcerative colitis, which hospitalised the young fullback during the off-season.

The 22-year-old was a rare shining light for the Red V last year, scoring six tries in 15 games and making the No.1 jumper his own. 

Talatau Amone on the other hand is expected to be sidelined for the majority of the season, with a pending legal battle enforcing the NRL’s no-fault stand-down policy.

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The 20-year-old is coming off a breakout year for St George Illawarra, but could be facing up to 14 years in jail if found guilty of assault charges during the off-season. 

It leaves the Dragons without their likely starting fullback and starting five-eighth for the start of the year, and despite the likes of Tyrell Sloan and Jayden Sullivan able to step up, it leaves two holes in the club’s roster.

St George were the first club that had to deal with the no-fault stand-down policy, with lock-forward Jack de Belin missing over two years on sexual assault charges before they were dropped. 

In that case, the club fought tooth and nail to receive salary cap exemption in 2019, but were left scrambling and eventually had to sign fringe first grader Patrick Kaufusi on a short-term deal.

This time around, Griffin is already exploring the club’s options and is hoping to become active in the player market before the season begins in early-March.

“It’s looking that way [missing the entire season] for both of them unfortunately, obviously for different reasons,” he told SEN Radio.

“It’s something we didn’t want to go through, but we are going really well and we’ve had a great preparation.

“Our list is pretty stable – obviously we’ve got to fill three or four spots over the next month or two. We’ve got some internal guys that we can promote, but we’ve also got capacity within our cap.

“We’ve been really well-planned, so we’ve still got a lot of capacity and a couple of spots there. We will look at the market and be in there.

“It’s a little bit tight obviously with the Dolphins coming in, they have mopped up a lot of the talent that might normally be floating around at the moment…there’s always a deal to be done somewhere.

“It is disappointing for Cody in particular with his illness and Junior with the predicament that he’s in, but we will get through it.”

St George Illawarra are rather short in the middle of the field, which is where Griffin could look at adding some depth to their squad if they are given salary cap relief by the NRL.

Why isn’t Cody Ramsey playing for the Dragons?

Cody Ramsey will miss the entire season after being hospitalised in the off-season with an inflammatory bowel condition known as ulcerative colitis. 

The club confirmed he won’t feature at all in 2023, but the Dragons are hopeful of a return in 2024.

“Cody was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel condition, in late 2022 which required an extended stay in hospital,” general manager of football Ben Haran said. 

“Unfortunately this ultimately required significant bowel surgery. This surgery was successful, however it will require multiple follow-up procedures over the coming season.

“This means that Cody won’t be available to play NRL in the 2023 season. Our focus will be on Cody’s medical rehabilitation and wellbeing in the first phase. From there we’ll work towards what the future looks like for him.

“He’s been in and around training with the players and coaches recently and is having a hugely positive impact on all of us at the club.

“Cody is a great character who is one of the most passionate, popular and respected members of our club and will have a significant impact on the success of the team over the coming season.”

Why isn’t Talatau Junior Amone playing for the Dragons?

Talatau Junior Amone is unlikely to feature for the Dragons this season, with a pending legal battle forcing the NRL to implement their no-fault stand-down policy.

The 20-year-old is facing up to 14 years in prison if found guilty of assault charges following an incident in the off-season.

Amone is due back in court in March, but appears unlikely to face trial until later in the year. 


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