Monday , September 25 2023

‘A bit harsh’: Ryles claims rejected by Dragons boss

St George-Illawarra Dragons chief executive Ryan Webb believes Jason Ryles‘ sensational rejection of the head coaching role isn’t the “end of the world”, and could yet prove a “blessing in disguise”.

Ryles was hot favourite to take on the role in the wake of Anthony Griffin‘s sacking, but announced on Wednesday he would instead move back to the Melbourne Storm for a second stint under Craig Bellamy.

To compound matters, the Dragons major sponsor of some 40 years, St George Bank announced they would wind up their support at the end of next season.

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“It wasn’t a great day for the club, I can say that,” Webb said on SEN Breakfast.

“For Jason … rejected is one way to look at it, but also maybe he didn’t think he was prepared for (a head coaching role) yet, and he needed a couple more years in the system under Bellamy.

“It can be painted as a real negative, but hopefully in the long run, it might be a blessing in disguise if we get the right person in.

“I’m not dismissing that (Wednesday) wasn’t a hard day for anyone at the club, but I don’t think it’s the end of the world. 

“If we get the next … appointment right, we can still be in a really good place.”

Webb admitted discussions with Ryles “got to the pointy end”, but rejected the premise the club had “bent over backwards” to secure his signature.

Webb indicated term and staffing arrangements appeared to have been agreed upon.

“I don’t know the details on the other side, but I assume somewhere late in the piece Melbourne have been able to come in and offer a role as an apprentice there as well as an assistant coach,” he said. 

“In the end, it was Jason’s decision 

“To say we bent over backwards would be a bit harsh. There was negotiation in there, and we all met in the middle as you always do.

“But I guess ultimately it comes down to Jason’s decision on what was best for him and whether he was ready to jump into a big job like the Dragons.

“We have to move on now and find the next best candidate. In our eyes, if he felt any sort of hesitation, it’s probably better to turn us down now than jump in and find out in six or 12 months that he doesn’t feel like he was up to it.”

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