Thurston bid ruled out for Dragons


Dragons coach Steve Price says the club has no plans to join the pursuit of Queensland and Australian playmaker Johnathan Thurston.

St George Illawarra have a number of issues to tackle in regard to their halves next year, given Jamie Soward and Nathan Fien are coming off contract and Kyle Stanley will spend 2013 recovering from a fourth knee reconstruction.

Speaking to the Mercury yesterday, Price allayed fears Stanley would struggle to come back from the latest injury setback, declaring Stanley was a vital part of his planning for the future.

Thurston also comes off contract at North Queensland next season and was recently photographed at Canterbury's Belmore headquarters, after meeting with Bulldogs coach Des Hasler and chief executive Todd Greenberg.

But Price said he was not preparing a move for the 29-year-old, despite some club officials discussing the prospect of putting together a deal.

"We're always interested in good players, but I haven't spoken to anyone about that," Price said.

"I haven't spoken to his management.

"Our main focus at the moment is nailing this pre-season, that's all I'm worried about."

Thurston's manager Sam Ayoub has maintained a new deal will not be reached until the new terms of the salary cap are finalised.

Stanley's injury has left Price with just three halves options next year - former NSW five-eighth Soward, to be partnered by either Kiwi international Nathan Fien or new signing Josh Drinkwater.

Price said Drinkwater was in a position to put "real pressure" on Fien for the No 7 jersey, following the retirement of Ben Hornby at the end of last season.

Stanley will undergo surgery to repair damage to his right knee after slipping on a wet surface and the club confirmed on Thursday he will miss the entire 2013 season.

"It's not great for a young kid, but I'm very confident he will pull through," Price said.

Stanley yesterday tweeted to say he was already focused on returning to the field.

"Stage 1 of the COMEBACK done tweeps. Thought I'd keep you guys updated," he tweeted.

Price said Drinkwater, who played for Manly in the under 20 competition last year, had been impressive since arriving in Wollongong.

"He's a very calm sort of guy," he said.

"He'll get his chance during the trials, but the kid wants to listen and he has a sound kicking game."

Price ruled out shifting Gerard Beale to the halves next year, saying he wanted the 22-year-old former Bronco to make a real impact in attack from fullback.

Johnathan Thurston.

Johnathan Thurston.


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