ST GEORGE Illawarra recruitment chief Ian Millward says the Dragons will be in a position to pick up some “bargain” players left out in the cold by an ongoing salary cap fight.
Just a month out from the finals, the NRL is yet to confirm a salary cap figure for the 2018 season as they continue discussions with the clubs and the Rugby League Players Association.
It’s a situation that could see big-spending clubs forced to offload players to get under a tighter cap than initially predicted.
Millward said the Dragons have been conservative in their estimations of the eventual cap figure and relied on advice from the NRL in shaping their roster.
"We're under specific instructions from the NRL on what the salary cap is so we feel we’re in a really comfortable position,” Millward said.
“All clubs are being communicated with on a regular basis and we're complying with that. Obviously the other clubs are complying with it, that’s the reason they’ve got to unload some players.
“I know everyone says they’re a little bit hard done by because they’ve got to get rid of players, but the reason they need to get rid of players is because we need to all comply with what the NRL directive was.
“That’s the figure you’ve got to be under. We’re in a position where we are, some others aren’t and that’s why they’ve got to make some movements.”
With Russell Packer departing, Millward confirmed the Dragons are in the market for a front-rower and said the club will also be in a position to pick up players deemed surplus to requirements elsewhere.
“We’ve got spots available in our top 30 for next year and obviously with spots available we have money,” Millward said.
“We’ve got four [roster] spots to go, that why we're actively looking for a front-rower and being patient for the right players.
“We’ve got three other spots available where we are active but we’re waiting for the right person.
“Because we have money and spots available we might be able to get some bargains that other cubs have to release at the moment.”
In other recruitment news, Millward confirmed the club has locked down young-gun Tristan Sailor for two more seasons.
The new deal will keep the son of duel-International Wendell Sailor at the club until the end of the 2019 season with the 19-year-old utility back to transition into the full-time squad from next year.
Sailor represented the Queensland Under 20s side earlier this season and has been a key figure in the Dragons NYC side’s push into the top four.
"Tristan has been quite exceptional this year,” Millward said.
“He played in Queensland's Under-20s side, following in the footsteps of his dad and now he’ll follow in the footsteps of his dad being a full-time Dragon.
“He’ll come into our fulltime squad. He plays numerous positions and I think we’re still to find out what his best position is.
“He's a very talented fullback and five-eighth, he has really good vision, instinct and skills. We're really excited by his retention because we feel there's so much upside in him physically.”