Tackle Count: Is Griffin the right man to lead the Dragons?

LOOKING FORWARD: Anthony Griffin. Picture: Jason O'Brien/NRL Imagery
LOOKING FORWARD: Anthony Griffin. Picture: Jason O'Brien/NRL Imagery

Did the Red V rush their decision?

Anthony Griffin, come on down. The hot seat is all yours!

St George Illawarra ended weeks of speculation on Monday by unveiling Griffin as their new coach from 2021. He takes over from Paul McGregor, who stepped down from the role last month.

Griffin, 54, was one of three candidates to take over the reins, along with interim coach Dean Pay and David Furner. He brings a wealth of experience, having previously coached at Brisbane and the Panthers.

Dragons CEO Ryan Webb said it was ultimately a unanimous decision to go with Griffin.

"Anthony is an experienced operator with a proven track record across his previous seven seasons as a head coach," Webb said.

"Anthony has missed finals football only once which speaks to the strong discipline and ability to develop young talent of which he has exhibited both throughout his career.

"The next steps for the Dragons are now determining the correct framework and structures to put around Anthony and the football department to ensure his tenure as coach is a successful one."

And while Griffin has a 55 per cent win/loss record, not everyone seems to be a fan of the Dragons' appointment.

The signing has kicked off a war of words in the media, including sensational allegations that former Panthers general manager of football Phil Gould had an agenda to hinder Griffin's chances of getting the job (Gould has since refuted these claims).

"To suggest that I've been part of some sort of media agenda to prevent him getting another coaching role is a disgrace. It just simply isn't true," Gould said on his Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

"The most hurtful thing through all of this is that Anthony Griffin is managed by Wayne Beavis, who's been a very dear friend of mine for 40 years.

"Now, it pains me to say: I don't know if Wayne was a party to this ridiculous and scurrilous campaign, to involve my name as a lever to securing Anthony Griffin a job at the Dragons but by his silence on this issue, I can only assume that he has endorsed this tactic and allowed it to play out the way it has."

So what happens next?

Now that the Dragons have backed Griffin in as their man, Tackle Count believes the club's board and supporters need to give him time when he takes over the reins.

It will be a fascinating scenario to keep an eye on.

The round kicks off tonight with the Tigers looking to clinch back-to-back wins when they tackle the Rabbitohs. Buckle up for another interesting start to the round.

* This edition of Tackle Count was written by Joshua Bartlett.

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This story Is this the right man to lead the Dragons? first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.