Incoming Dragons coach Shane Flanagan has put his foot down and told Ben Hunt he’ll be playing under him next year – and the disgruntled skipper has agreed.
Flanagan revealed he’s spoken with Hunt and told the Red V’s captain and halfback that he’ll be seeing out his contract which runs until the end of 2025.
The veteran coach said Hunt understood his position and the pair then started discussing the club’s plans for 2024.
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“Ben will be there next year, I’ve spoken to Ben and I think we’ve sort of put that to bed and he’ll be at the club next year,” Flanagan said on 2GB.
“I met with him before the game, I put my coach’s hat on with him and said to him ‘Ben, as the coach I’m not letting you go, you’re my captain, you’re my halfback, I’m not letting you go and I’ve got the support of the club there, they don’t want you to go’.
“We had that discussion, he said ‘I understand Flanno, I understand completely’ … the conversation went on and we started to talk about next year.”
Flanagan also confirmed young half Jayden Sullivan was free to talk to rival clubs after telling foxsports.com.au earlier this month the 21-year-old had to decide whether he wanted to be at the club.
“Basically three doesn’t go into two and Jayden’s got the opportunity to have a look around,” he said.
“He could still be at the club, I think he’s a good young player but if he’s got the opportunity to go somewhere else we’ll consider it later on.
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“That’s not saying he will be or won’t be there but these things happen all the time at clubs, he’s a good young player and I haven’t decided either way which way we’re going to go there.”
The Dragons rosters rebuild under Flanagan is starting to take shape with three other players also told in the past week that they’re free to leave the club.
Zane Musgrove and Jaiyden Hunt both have contracts for 2024 but have been given permission to leave early, while Moses Mbye is reportedly on the move to the Super League.
Tautau Moga and Billy Burns are off contract at the end of the season, while Michael Molo and Mikaele Ravalawa have mutual and player options respectively for 2024.
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Tyrell Sloan, Junior Amone, Jack de Belin, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Francis Molo, Jaydn Su’A, Mathew Feagai, Max Feagai and Zane Musgrove will all hit the open market on November 1.
The Dragons are looking at signing Bulldogs front-rower Luke Thompson and Papua New Guinea hooker Edwin Ipape, who Flanagan coached at the World Cup.
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