Dragons' Dufty pens two-year NRL extension

Matt Dufty played 26 of his 33 first-grade games for St George Illawarra last year.
Matt Dufty played 26 of his 33 first-grade games for St George Illawarra last year.

St George Illawarra have put to bed questions over Matt Dufty's future at the NRL club, re-signing the young fullback until the end of the 2021 campaign.

Seemingly the man on the outer with Corey Norman's arrival and Gareth Widdop's expected move to the back, Dufty's tenure has been under a cloud since the end of last season.

But, with Widdop set to leave the Dragons at the end of 2019 for the English Super League, the Saints confirmed 23-year-old Dufty had inked a two-year deal beyond his current contract that expired in 2019.

"I feel like a weight has been lifted. I've had it over my head for a while now and I'm glad the positive discussions I've had with the club has ended this way," Dufty said.

"I'm really excited for this year to come. I'm not sure where I'll play but it's a good headache for Mary (coach Paul McGregor) to have.

"We have all been playing different positions, trying to get our different combinations sorted and with the strike force we have, it's exciting to see how we all play."

A talented Dragons junior, Dufty debuted for the Saints in 2017 before playing every game last season, scoring 13 tries.

However, he was dropped to the bench for a late-season game against Canterbury and his future was brought into question when the Dragons reportedly showed an interest in Jarryd Hayne before they signed Norman.

"We know (Dufty)'s a person we want here long-term at this club," Dragons recruitment manager Ian Millward said.

"He's a passionate Dragons player who brings a real skill set to the team.

"We have been in deep discussions and negotiating with Matt and his agent since last year.

"He was aware of our discussions with Corey Norman at all times and he knew where his future lied at our club at all times."

Australian Associated Press