Jason Ryles detail emerges after Anthony Griffin axed at Dragons
The latest move represents a major breakthrough in the Dragons' search for a new coach.
Roosters assistant coach Jason Ryles has moved a step closer to taking over as the head coach of the Dragons, as the fallout to Anthony Griffin's sacking intensifies. On Tuesday, the NRL strugglers ended months of speculation by announcing they had parted ways with Griffin.
The under-fire former coach's head had been on the chopping block for months, with the Dragons board making him reapply for the role as they weighed up coaching options for next season. One name that has consistently been mentioned at the top of the coaching list is former Dragons star, Ryles, who is currently Trent Robinson's assistant coach at the Roosters.
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Touted as the game's next head coach in waiting, the situation around Ryles was complicated by the fact the Roosters did not want to lose him - certainly not this season. It's understood Ryles had given the Roosters assurances that would he would see out his three-year contract at the club, which was set to take him until the end of next year.
However, it's now emerged the Roosters are willing to let their assistant go before the end of his contract, with Fox League's James Hooper claiming the club has been left filthy at how developments at the Dragons have panned out. Hooper claimed some Roosters officials wanted Ryles him gone immediately and added that he would not remain in the role beyond 2023.
“I think the Roosters feel as though they might have been a little bit misled,” Hooper said on NRL 360. “They were told as recently as a month ago, there was no way that Jason Ryles was going to be interested in the Dragons’ job whatsoever.
“The Dragons were saying that a month ago as well, so something has changed. There has been a circuit breaker.”
Ryles was considered a strong chance to succeed Craig Bellamy at Melbourne, before the veteran Storm coach stunned the league world this week by confirming he will remain at the helm in 2024. That development has opened the door for the Dragons to pounce on the club great, with Robinson confirming on Thursday that he's been given blessing from the Roosters to pursue the head coaching role.
"If an assistant wants to go for a job, they can go for a job, that's really clear and we're supporting Rylesy in doing that," Robinson said. "He's decided he wants to go and pursue that, and the club supports him in that."
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Ryan Carr - Griffin's well-credentialed assistant - has been named as the Dragons' interim coach for the rest of the season. His first game in charge is coincidentally against the Roosters coaching team of Robinson and Ryles on Friday.
Robinson confirmed reports the Roosters would be seeking compensation from the Dragons if and when he does decide to join the club, given the fact Ryles would not be honouring the final year of his three-year dal with the Tri Colours.
"That was the contract (with Ryles)," Robinson said. "We've had discussions around that and if he's going to go and what that looks like.
"That's not to sort of for us to discuss, I haven't really even talked to his manager about it either. He can go through the process and we support him in going for the job. He's ready and it's time for him to go and look at that but that's (for) after this week."
The Roosters have already been through a similar situation in recent years when former assistant and current Newcastle head coach Adam O'Brien left to join the Knights in 2020, shortly after joining the Bondi club. Ryles arrived at the Roosters in 2021 following spells with the Storm and the English rugby union team.
It's understood Ryles camp are searching for a long-term contract at the Dragons that would allow the rookie head coach to shape the club's future. Ryles would no doubt want a significant say in player retention and recruitment, as well as the make-up of his coaching staff.
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