Dragons look to unleash ball-playing Dufty

Matt Encarnacion
Matt Dufty's form has been a revelation as St George Illawarra emerge from a slump in the NRL

He might be best recognised for his nippy speed, but St George Illawarra fullback Matt Dufty has been told to let everyone know about his unseen passing game.

Dufty's form has mirrored the Dragons' mini-resurgence over the past fortnight, with consecutive wins relieving pressure on coach Paul McGregor.

In his past two games, Dufty has tallied three try assists and 14 tackle breaks to go with an average of almost 150 metres made per game.

Ahead of Friday's clash with the Sydney Roosters, McGregor admitted that the more Dufty is involved in the game, the better his team performs.

"Matt's unpredictability is vital to capitalise on fractured (defensive) lines or quick play-the-balls, six-agains or when you can play transition," he said.

"Matt's last couple of weeks have certainly been his best footy for this year.

"The more involvement ... the more push around the footy, the better he gets our defensive sticks right and we become a better footy team.

"He's getting the balance right at the moment. It's just about consistency now, continuing to improve and competing on every play."

And it's also about the electric ball-runner being more unpredictable by adapting his under-utilised passing game in attack.

McGregor revealed the coaching staff have implemented a new playing style to adapt to the rule changes, and unleash Dufty's skills.

"He's certainly had that in his game before but it's more on show at the moment because we're trying to play a different style and that suits Matt," McGregor said.

"We try and implement things each week with the new rule changes and we're consistently improving. The more we improve, the more Matt will see the footy.

"And that's important to us. He does have a very nice pass both sides of the field.

"If he can get the ball quickly and get on the right people he can create space for others because he's got a really nice in and away."

McGregor's comments come as Dufty's counterpart, James Tedesco, was ruled out as a precaution after he was concussed against Parramatta last week.

Josh Morris was also a late withdrawal due to a calf strain, so Brett Morris starts at fullback, Ryan Hall comes on to a wing and Mitchell Aubusson starts in the centres.