St George Illawarra Dragons head coach Anthony Griffin has been subject to plenty of criticism over the offseason as the Red V failed to qualify for the finals for the fourth straight season.
He has won 20 games and lost 28 at the helm of the Dragons since becoming their head coach in 2021, giving him a win rate of 41.7%.
Nearly 12 months ago when betting odds were first released for 2022 the Dragons were wooden spoon favourites but would finish far above expectations as they placed tenth on the NRL ladder and for a good chunk of the season remained in finals contention.
When taking that into account it can be argued that Griffin had his team overperforming last season and that he does not deserve the backlash he is currently facing from fans.
TripADeal’s Norm Black certainly thinks so, as the boss of one of the Dragons primary sponsors publicly backed Griffin in a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph’s Phil “Buzz” Rothfield.
“Hook is not the problem there, I’m telling you,” Black said.
“He’s actually got a plan to get the club back to where it needs to be in the next three to five years.
“I think he’s been unfairly targeted in sections of the media and it’s not right.
“He had 12 wins and most years that gets you into the top eight.
“I think he’s a good coach and an impressive man.”
One of if not the biggest criticism fans have of Griffin is his inability to push the Dragons up and coming talent.
The club has one of the best groups of rising stars in the NRL today but the 56-year-old has largely not been able to get the best out of them.
The St George Illawarra Dragons have confirmed two key coaching appointments for the 2023 season 🐉 #redv
— St George Illawarra Dragons (@NRL_Dragons) October 27, 2022
Reports have emerged that fullback Tyrell Sloan has requested his release from the Red V after having his game time severely reduced last season.
Young half Jayden Sullivan is also believed to have asked for his release after the Dragons announced that they had re-signed Ben Hunt until the end of 2025.
Griffin seems to be in no immediate danger of losing his job, especially with the backing of someone like Norm Black but if the Dragons do not improve on last season he could be shown the door in 2023.