Dragons young gun Tyrell Sloan has sensationally backflipped on his release request and will instead fight for a spot in Anthony Griffin’s starting side.
The 20-year-old, alongside playmaker Jayden Sullivan, reportedly had their formal requests for an immediate release denied.
While Sullivan, 21, put forward a second request last week, Sloan has had a major change of heart according to The Daily Telegraph.
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Sloan was dropped by Griffin three rounds into the 2022 season and featured on the bench, at fullback and on the wing five more times in a disappointing campaign.
The rising star explained he backs his footballing ability and his decision came down to his relationship with those at the Dragons.
“Footy was never the problem with me, it was just to have a good relationship with people (at the club),” Sloan said.
“I’m not worried about if I get the fullback position or not, I’m confident in my ability, I just need to know that the club I’m representing, believe in me.
“It was playing on my mind a lot, if I had to relocate and go somewhere else.
“But at the end of the day, my grandma lives in Wollongong and I would’ve struggled to leave. It’s definitely a big weight off my shoulders.
The 2022 season was expected to be a breakout year for Sloan after making his debut in Round 15 in 2021.
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The year didn’t go to plan and Sloan was confident club chairman Craig Young would allow him to leave, with Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins reportedly pursuing his signature.
However, after sitting down with Young and speaking to chief executive Ryan Webb, Sloan was confident he had the backing of figures within the club.
“It was a conversation where this is my club, this is where I grew up, and for a period during the [past] year I asked myself ‘would anyone really care if I asked for a release or if I wanted to go’,” Sloan said.
“But that’s where it all came back to, and a lot of the people at the club stepped up and said they believed in me as a fullback. I just want to make that my jersey, and secure my position.
“He (Webb) was very upfront about everything in [me] making a decision … it’s really important for myself to be comfortable.
“When you feel wanted, those are the sort of guys you want to be talking to, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones making the decisions.”
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Webb alongside Dragons official Matthew Elliott also made the effort to attend the Koori Knockout in Nowra.
The pair were the only NRL representatives in attendance as Newcastle All Blacks beat Latrell Mitchell’s Walgett Aboriginal Connection in a tight 22-16 grand final.
Mitchell was vocal about the lack of NRL scouts in attendance, and Sloan revealed Webb and Elliott embracing the indigenous culture was a “big tick for the club”.
“It’s a massive talent pool for young Indigenous kids, and if clubs are fair dinkum and want Aboriginal talent, that’s where it is,” Sloan said.
“So that was a big tick for the club, because it looked like they wanted to take an interest in us young kids and that’s why I spoke about Webby.
“He was the only one that I saw from an NRL club, it was massive … it wasn’t fake, he was there the whole day and he wanted to learn about our culture and how we all connect.
“It shows he respects our culture, it’s built on respect and I don’t think he once felt out of place.”