Ryles has Robinson's support for head coaching gig

·3-min read

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has opened the door for his assistant Jason Ryles to explore head-coaching jobs elsewhere for 2024.

But amid reports the Roosters could seek a hefty payout if Ryles wanted to break contract, the coach will remain in open dialogue with his assistant to ensure all parties are satisfied with a mooted exit.

Ryles is contracted through to the end of next season but has been linked with the top jobs at St George Illawarra and Melbourne, which are both expected to become vacant in the near future.

The Dragons told Anthony Griffin in the pre-season they would sound out the availability of possible replacements, before the club fell into a five-game losing streak.

Ryles, who played the bulk of his NRL career with the Red V, sits atop a list of potential successors that also includes Ben Hornby and Dean Young.

At the same time, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy will decide next week whether he will coach on or take up a coaching director role.

If he was to make 2024 his final year, Ryles could theoretically see out his deal with the Roosters and move to the Storm in 2025 after previously playing and coaching under Bellamy.

Over a decade in charge of the Roosters, Robinson has become used to rivals poaching his top assistants in a bid to piggyback on the club's sustained success.

"I never have (stood in the way)," he said.

"That's not going to happen now. As long as there's clarity there and we're doing the best thing for the Roosters as well."

Robinson was tight-lipped on the specifics of Ryles' coaching credentials but confirmed he would continue to be a sounding board as he weighed his future up.

"That's where the relationship's important and the trust in those communications to offer that advice and how that looks," Robinson said.

"That's a part of the role, I was in that role once as well, so you know how they feel.

"We've chatted about his future.

"It's not something that's for me to go into. In a way, it's got something to do with us, but it's got nothing to do with us in another way."

Robinson's comments came as former Dragon Aaron Woods, who left for Manly last month, said he had continued to feel for his former teammates.

"They're in the media every week, win, lose or draw, and there have been more losses lately when they've only just been getting beaten," Woods said.

"I really feel sorry for them because I've got some good mates down there.

"It would be good to see them get a win and shut a few people up."

Woods also launched a defence of former teammate Jack Bird, who hit out at St George Illawarra fans on Wednesday over continual criticism of Griffin and Dragons players before retracting the comments.

"Birdy is a good guy. The intentions that he would have gone there with (were good)," Woods said.

"When he gets pressed he just would have come out and said something. There was no malice. He loves the club.

"He's a local boy down there and he was just defending his mate."