St George Illawarra boss Craig Young has launched a scathing attack as the NRL club responds to supposed leaks to the media from within the playing group.
It was reported in the Daily Telegraph earlier this week that coach Anthony Griffin was facing accusations of 'favouritism' towards certain key players - leading to a furious response from Young.
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A subsequent Telegraph report suggested the Dragons were concerned about the anonymous leaks coming from one player in particular.
This prompted Young to launch a scathing broadside to the entire playing group.
The Dragons president implored anyone on his team who wasn't pulling towards an unlikely finals berth was welcome to get a game elsewhere.
“The players that don’t want to stick together, well they’re not part of the team,” Young said.
“The expectation at this club is that when things are tough and we find a way through it, to push through it to the other side.
“You don’t go whinging and moaning, you roll your sleeves up, work hard and get through it. You don’t go and whinge to whoever. We all have to stick together.”
One player, as yet unnamed, has reportedly been singled out as the potential source of the leaks, with Channel 7's Michelle Bishop saying this player had been 'agitating' for months.
In an interview with SEN, Bishop said the player in question had been on the Dragons' radar for months.
“That person just continues to agitate,” Bishop said.
“There’s plenty of talk around who that player is and it wouldn’t be fair or legal to single that player out but they’re watching him, they’re not happy.
“The name I’m hearing, they’ve been across it for months.”
The reports have prompted a furious reaction from former players, with the likes of Michael Weyman scathing in their response.
“It pisses me off. You don’t talk behind each other’s backs - it’s deceitful. If you’ve got a problem then go talk to the other person - you don’t leak it,” Weyman said.
“The club is so tight-knit so if you don’t like that then don’t be part of it. Don’t try to put a wedge in there. You don’t do that.”
Dragons under pressure with NRL finals slipping away
The Dragons entered the State of Origin period a genuine chance of playing finals football but finished it with decisive losses to fellow finals aspirants Brisbane and the Sydney Roosters.
The club's board met on Tuesday and Griffin's future was on the agenda, but utility Moses Mbye said extra scrutiny was to be expected in the lead-up to the finals.
"It's that time of the year where if you're not performing very well, you're going to be under the pump," he said.
"The last couple of weeks we haven't been playing good footy.
"The pressure comes back on us as a playing group and as a club. Obviously, there are headlines that you don't really want to be reading. But that's just the reality of what it is."
Griffin is known as something of a hard taskmaster but Mbye dismissed reports the playing group was unhappy with his coaching style.
"It's a bit laughable to be honest," he said.
Mbye said the only way to ease pressure on the coach would be to improve on-field, starting with Friday's match against Manly.
If the Dragons lose they will be two wins and points differential out of the top eight with only six games in hand to close the gap.
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