Tyrell Sloan's revelation about Wayne Bennett amid huge decision on NRL future

Sloan took NRL fans by storm with one of the standout individual displays in round one.

Dragons fans can rest easy, with exciting youngster Tyrell Sloan pledging his future to the Red V despite interest from Dolphins coach, Wayne Bennett. The Dragons fullback was one of the stories of the opening round after scoring a superb hat-trick in the 28-4 win thumping of the Gold Coast.

In coach Shane Flanagan's first NRL game in charge of his new club, Sloan was slick in attack and solid in defence as the Dragons provided an emphatic answer to critics. Many tipped the Dragons to be wooden spoon contenders this year, but Flanagan has shown he's already transformed the side in a short space of time, and in Sloan he looks to have a genuine superstar in the making.

Dragons NRL star Tyrell Sloan turned down the chance to join Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins. Pic: Getty
Dragons NRL star Tyrell Sloan turned down the chance to join Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins. Pic: Getty

The best part for Dragons fans is that Sloan - off-contract at the end of this season - has no intention of leaving the club. The 21-year-old grew up and was raised by his grandmother Colleen in Wollongong and is settled in the city and excited by what the future has in store for him.

Sloan was approached by Bennett about potentially signing for the Dolphins but turned down the master coach despite having some "good conversations" with the 74-year-old about his career. A product of Dapto High, Sloan said while he was flattered by the approach from one of the game's greatest coaches, "home is where the heart is" and it's where he wants to stay.

Tyrell Sloan flattered by interest from Wayne Bennett

Sloan signed a three-year deal with the Red V at the start of 2022 when Bennett had approached him about coming to the Dolphins. "I didn't get to see any of the deal ... but I spoke to Wayne," Sloan said. "There was just a connection between us two... we had some good conversations.

"I've got to say I was pretty young in the head. It is pretty cool when you have one of those guys (interested) but that ship has sailed. That is in the past. I am at the Dragons. No regrets."

With Sloan's current deal up after this season, there would certainly be plenty of rival clubs interested in exploring the chance to poach the fullback, particularly if he puts in more performances like the one in round one. It's understood Sloan's management and the Dragons have opened negotiations with the Wollongong-raised speedster to extend his stay at the club.

Seen here, Tyrell Sloan dives over for a try in the Dragons' big NRL round one win over the Titans.
Tyrell Sloan dives over for a try in the Dragons' big NRL round one win over the Titans. Pic: Getty

Tyrell Sloan wants to stay at 'home' in Wollongong

Sloan has already bought a house in the Wollongong area and frequently attends local schools to encourage kids to chase their dreams like he has. But it's the 21-year-old's family - and in particular his closeness to his grandma - that makes a move away unfathomable.

"It is home and a big part of it was my nan. I wouldn't be able to leave her... and also my brother (Ashley)," he added. "In the (NRL's COVID-19) bubble I struggled. I was with my friends but home is where my heart is. I try to represent that as much as I can. I wouldn't be able to leave home."


Sloan previously asked for a release from the Dragons in 2022 but was ultimately knocked back. At the time, the youngster copped plenty of criticism about his defence and wasn't convinced the Dragons were sold on him as a fullback. But he says Flanagan has filled him with confidence since taking over as coach.

"We had a lot of conversations that I will keep behind closed doors, but Flanno keeps instilling in me how to become one of the elite fullbacks," Sloan said the win against Gold Coast. "We have a very strong connection. He is always on my back … and wants the best for me as a person and a player. When I am at my best, the team is at its best.

"I am always willing to learn. That is something I struggled with the last couple of years where I took criticism the wrong way. That is just who I was. Flanno has instilled into all of us the need to change. If we keep doing that we will continue to get results."

with AAP