St George Illawarra have backtracked and withdrawn George Burgess from the squad that will face the Cronulla Sharks on Thursday night.
Burgess has been arrested and charged with a sexual touching offence but still looked set to face the Sharks.
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin originally named Burgess in his 24-man squad but it has since been cut to 19. The Englishman along with Poasa Faamausili, Mat Feagai, Jaiyden Hunt and Michael Molo have dropped out.
Griffin says they are still waiting to hear from the NRL to find out whether Burgess will be stood down. As far as the NRL’s stand-down policy is concerned, the case is in a “grey area” and Burgess’ future remains in limbo.
George Burgess in limbo
One thing is for certain though, he will not feature against the Sharks at WIN Stadium.
From a football point of view, until we got more information about it we left him in the squad but I understand it’s going to take a bit longer,” Griffin told reporters. “He’ll come out (of the squad) today and someone else will come in.”
Meanwhile Griffin will be forced in to a change at hooker after Andrew McCullough was ruled out with an elbow injury.
It presents an opportunity for new boy Moses Mbye to step in and take the No.9 jersey. And Griffin believes the ex-Wests Tigers utility is just the man for the job.
The local derby clash will be intense to say the least and cool heads will be needed. The Dragons coach says Mbye has just that.
“Moses is a real pro. He’s still only 27 but he’s been around and he’s played State of Origin, he’s played finals football,” Griffin added. “He’s bought that experience and that calmness. Moses is a real professional with the way he prepares himself and that’s rubbed off on a lot of our guys.”
Like the Dragons the Sharks sit 1-1 following the opening two rounds of the NRL campaign.
Halves excite Sharks
Just to add a bit of extra spice to the game, Cronulla are now coached by former Dragon Craig Fitzgibbon. Former Dragons-skipper-turned-Shark Cameron McInnes has also recovered from a knee injury and will play.
Fitzgibbon is in a bullish mood heading into the game and is particularly excited by his new halves combination.
Former Melbourne Storm ace Nicho Hynes and Matt Moylan are impressing and there is more to come.
“When you watch both Nicho and Matt play, their work ethic is tremendous.” Fitzgibbon said. “When they play, they’re in everything and that’s what you want out of your halves.
“It is still really early for their connection but it’s formed pretty quickly throughout the pre-season and I’m hoping it can get even stronger.”