Dufty eager to nail down Dragons No.1 spot

Matt Dufty is targeting a big 2021 to secure St George Illawarra's No.1 spot and a new NRL deal.
Matt Dufty is targeting a big 2021 to secure St George Illawarra's No.1 spot and a new NRL deal.

Matt Dufty admits it's on him to make an irresistible case for a long-term deal with St George Illawarra after initial talks began for the fullback to re-sign with the Dragons.

Dufty revealed this week early talks between his management and the NRL club's hierarchy are under way, after he went public in January over the silence on a new contract.

But he is aware he is going to have to work for a new contract at his junior club.

The 25-year-old is adamant he can be among the best fullbacks in the game if given the chance, after showing plenty of promise in his first four seasons.

But in that time he has regularly been made to battle for the No.1 jersey, in particular after Corey Norman's arrival at the club in 2019.

Dufty said that uncertainty and fight to retain his spot has him better positioned for his latest audition, with Anthony Griffin now in charge.

"It rattled me a lot more when I was younger," Dufty told AAP.

"Coming off 2018, playing 26 games and them signing Normy was obviously hard to handle for me... But I do my best work under pressure or when people doubt me.

"This is a good opportunity for me (in 2021) ... If I can come out and play some good footy I can set myself up.

"The club's talking to my manager ... It's only very early stages.

"It's a big year for me. It could set me up or break me."

Dufty will have first crack at the No.1 jersey this year but knows he has Cody Ramsey waiting in the wings to take over as fullback.

And he knows he has to become a better team player, after Griffin broached the subject earlier in the summer.

"Hook sat me down when he first came in and said you know you got all the talent in the world," Dufty said of a conversation with Griffin.

"But he said we need you to start doing stuff that's best for the team, and I had to agree.

"I just looked out for myself on the field a few years ago ... If we lost but I played good I was happy that I played good.

"But now it's all about those two points. I just want the team to succeed."

After having 31 try involvements in 18 games last season, following a stop-start 2019, Dufty is ready to back his ability in the pursuit of a contract.

"Personally, I think I've got the talent to rival most fullbacks in the NRL," he said.

"So it's more that consistency and hard work, stuff I'm really looking forward to doing this year and establishing myself is one of the game's top fullbacks."

Australian Associated Press