Anthony Griffin under fire as shock detail emerges around Zac Lomax furore

The Dragons coach is copping it after a number of staggering selection calls.

·5-min read
Anthony Griffin, pictured here alongside Jacob Liddle, Zac Lomax and Toby Couchman.
Anthony Griffin has dropped Jacob Liddle, Zac Lomax and Toby Couchman. Image: Getty

Anthony Griffin has been taken to task after reportedly offering no feedback to Zac Lomax and Jacob Liddle over his decision to axe them from the Dragons team this weekend. Lomax and Liddle have paid the price for the Dragons' four consecutive losses, left out of the 17 to face the Wests Tigers in Magic Round.

Lomax has struggled this season after he was switched from right centre to left by Griffin, but Liddle has been one of the Dragons' best players despite being given limited minutes in favour of Moses Mbye. Discussing the situation on NRL 360 on Tuesday night, leading journalist Paul Kent revealed Lomax and Liddle hadn't been given any feedback about their axings.

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When Lomax asked Griffin why he'd been dumped, the coach reportedly told him they would speak about it in a "few days" when Lomax had cooled off. “It is a coach’s job, if you were told you’re not hosting the show tonight you’d expect an explanation," Paul Crawley said.

“Even if you were in a bad mood it is the coach’s job to talk some sense into you. And I will tell you it hasn’t helped the situation down there.”

Kent said: “I do have an issue with the feedback that we are getting with the decision and the feedback Lomax may not have received in regards to his relegation. So to Jacob Liddle, this is a consistent discussion point around Anthony Griffin’s coaching structure, his lack of communication.

“This is another example of it and players deserve better, certainly a player chewing up that much of your salary cap and not performing to the standard of what you expect. I would think some sort of feedback… is fair enough.”

Jacob Liddle and Tony Couchman, pictured here in action for the Dragons.
Jacob Liddle and Tony Couchman have been left out of the Dragons' side to face the Tigers. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

While Kent agreed that Lomax, who is on $700,000 per season, isn't playing to the standards expected of him, Crawley said he and Liddle have been made 'scapegoats'. “The bigger problem here too is that Zac Lomax and Jacob Liddle have become the scapegoats for a poor performance against a Bulldogs side that were missing Jacob Kiraz, Josh Addo-Carr, Viliame Kikau, Max King and Luke Thompson,” Crawley said.

“The bigger issue is that now they take on the Tigers coming off a win against the Panthers… it is an incredible position for a club to be in.”

Dragons fans left raging over Anthony Griffin selections

Crawley said he believes Lomax's form has gone backwards this year due to Griffin's coaching. He pointed to the fact that Lomax and Campbell Graham played in the same Australian schoolboys team, yet Graham is streets ahead and on the cusp of a State of Origin debut.

“You’ve got a player there that honestly when he was coming through the grades was spoken about as a potential Origin player,” Crawley said. “He came through in the same Australian Schoolboys side as Campbell Graham, and look at the trajectory of the two players at different clubs.

“Lomax would have been ahead of him… the bloke’s gone backwards. Under the three years of Anthony Griffin’s tenure I can’t spot one player that you’ve seen develop beyond their is the coach’s job to try and find a way to get the best out of him.”

Angry Dragons fans have also lashed out at Griffin's call to drop Lomax and Liddle, while teenage forward Toby Couchman has also been left out this week despite an impressive start to his NRL career. The bigger issue for fans is the fact that Mbye keeps getting the nod to start over Liddle, who has clearly been the better hooker so far this season.

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