St George Illawarra Dragons youngster Tyrell Sloan stars in loss to Manly Sea Eagles, crystallising Matt Dufty rejection

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The Dragons stunned the rugby league world when they told talented fullback Matt Dufty in May that he was unwanted for 2022, but the club’s decision began to make more sense as a 19-year-old wizkid shone in defeat on the Gold Coast tonight.

Tyrell Sloan was brilliant in St George Illawarra’s 32-18 loss to Manly, slotting in and firing at fullback as Dufty served his one-match ban for his attendance at the infamous barbeque.

The former Dapto Canaries junior posted a try, a try assist, 125 metres and 13 tackles – and the stats sheet doesn’t give the full picture.

Sloan effortlessly glided past Manly fullback Reuben Garrick on his way to a try in the eighth minute, before producing another moment of magic to set up a Gerard Beale four-pointer in the 73rd minute.

St George Illawarra halfback Ben Hunt kicked long in a scrum play from 70 metres out and, although Garrick appeared to be winning the race for the footy on the Dragons’ right wing, it was Sloan who snaffled up the ball.

Garrick reacted quickly in an effort to haul the youngster over the sideline, but he scooped an exceptional pass to Beale on his inside, who raced away to score.

Young Dragon’s heroic play in stellar try

Beale had high praise for Sloan in a post-match interview on Nine.

“He’s quick, really quick,” Beale said.

“He’s got a big future ahead and he’s talented. Everyone can see that.

“Hopefully I can help him and all the boys can help him develop along the way.”

Rugby league guru Phil Gould described Sloane’s pass to Beale as “a miracle ball”.

Earlier in the match, when Sloan accelerated past Garrick to snag his second NRL try from as many games, Gould raved.

“He’s an exciting young talent,” Gould said.

“Watch this for a move! See ya later, baby. Never even looked like worrying about him. See ya later, baby.

“You know the good ones when they do that part of it so easily. They know they’re around the fullback before it happens. Just knew. He beat him with a little bit of a head-fake, he looked to the right and said, ‘I’ve got you, I don’t care what your name is, I don’t care how many (games) you’ve played, I don’t care what your scrap book looks like’.”

Rugby league great Brad Fittler added: “Geez, he looks good running.”

Red V rookie scores sparkling try

Dufty has signed a one-year deal with the Bulldogs since being told by the Dragons that he wouldn’t be offered a new contract for 2022.

It’s uncertain whether Sloan or 21-year-old Dragons flyer Cody Ramsey will replace Dufty at fullback next season.

While Ramsey played on the left wing in tonight’s clash with Manly, he has also shown promise in brief stints at fullback this year.

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin has a welcome dilemma on his hands ahead of the club’s 2022 campaign.

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