AAP Rugby

I needed to be benched says Dragons’ Dufty

By AAP Newswire

It was the axing Matt Dufty had to have.

Two weeks ago the St George Illawarra fullback was controversially relegated to starting on the bench in their round 24 drubbing at the hands of Canterbury.

With the side struggling at the time, and questions mounting about their premiership credentials, it was seen as a sign of coach Paul McGregor's waning confidence in his No.1.

The sight of Jason Nightingale starting in the jumper Dufty had occupied since round 20 last year led many to question just where he stood.

However Dufty revealed it was he who asked to be rested and insisted McGregor had done him a favour by not starting him.

"I went and talked to 'Mary' (McGregor) that week and I told him I wasn't feeling myself mentally and physically and I was just feeling drained," Dufty told AAP.

"I wasn't playing good footy and my confidence was down.

"He said 'you don't have to play this week or I can put you on the bench', he gave me that option. I sat on the bench just because I didn't want to let the boys down.

"I ended up getting on after 20 minutes but then the next week he gave me two days off to freshen up. That's what I needed; I only needed to come in for captain's run.

"I got away from footy for two days, hung around family and friends and got off social media and it was definitely what I needed."

Like the rest of the group, Dufty admitted he had struggled during the post-Origin period.

After a blistering introduction to first grade last year and equally impressive run during the Dragons' purple patch in the opening half of the season, the 22-year-old found himself in a hole mentally and physically.

He has played every one of the Dragons' games this year and said he needed a freshen-up .

And with the Dragons having resuscitated their season with a rousing upset of Brisbane in week one of the finals, Dufty is back to his usual vibrant, energetic self.