Tuesday 24 October 2017 / 05:51 AM

RECRUITMENT WATCH: DRAGONS

In the second instalment of his NRL Recruitment Watch series, NICK TEDESCHI looks at who the St George Illawarra Dragons are chasing, who they should be going after, and the areas on the roster that need shoring up for 2018.

Needs: St George Illawarra are well in the market for a big prop to replace Russell Packer. They are already short up front and Packer’s departure has left the need for an aggressive prop high.

The loss of Josh Dugan has potentially opened the door for a fullback to sign, though Matt Dufty’s stellar debut on Sunday may have alleviated that requirement. Some poor centre play this year could have the Saints in the market for some strike out wide.

2018 Recruits: Ben Hunt

2018 Losses: Josh Dugan, Josh McCrone, Russell Packer, Taane Milne, Mose Masoe, Kalifa Faifai-Loa, Tyrone McCarthy

Off-Contract: Drew Hutchinson, Silvia Havilli, Will Matthews, Jake Marketo, Yaw Kiti Glymin, Levi Dodd

Rumours: James Roberts and Alex Johnston are two outside backs the Saints have been linked strongly with. Roberts is a speedster who would add some much-needed strike while Johnston offers some versatility, including an ability to play fullback.

Ben Barba continues to be linked to the Dragons despite signing with St Helens. Adam Blair has had his name attached to a move south from the Broncos. There is also talk Leilani Latu could shift to the Dragons as he is unhappy at Penrith.

Players to Target: James Roberts would be an absolute coup and a game-changer for a Dragons team that has overachieved. If they are after a cheaper speedster, North Queensland’s rookie flyer Gideon Gela-Mosby is well worth pursuing.

More pressing though is the need for prop forwards. Adam Blair is probably regarded as the classiest one on the market but he commands overs for some reason. Out-of-favour Warriors bookend Albert Vete and Manly veteran Brenton Lawrence are two cheaper forwards who can play big minutes and offer an impact.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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