Dragons 2018: Dufty right at home in No. 1 jumper

THEY'VE had no trouble finding top gear on the field, but Dragons fullback Matt Dufty puts the form of his side's spine down to their synergy off the park this season.

the Dragons are the NRL's runaway leaders in the attacking stats with 274 – 20 points ahead of their nearest rivals Melbourne – with their spine boasting 13 tries, 20 try-assists and 19 line-break assists between them.

It's saw them power to a 8-2 start to the season, with Dufty says he's right in-sync with Ben Hunt, Gareth Widdop and Cam McInnes 10 rounds into their campaign..

“We have spine meetings where Gaz, Benny and Cam are all there and I'm there every time,” Dufty said. 

“Most plays end with me in spine terms, it goes Cam to Benny, Gaz to me so I've got a bit of input there.

“Gaz has been talking to me more and more around what plays we can run and It goes a long way towards making me comfortable in that number one jersey.

“I've pretty much figured out how Gaz likes to play, when he wants me on his edge and when I can just roam, and my combination with Benny's really come along to.

“I get on with all the spine really well and I think our friendship off the field is translating on the field which always makes it easier.”

Dufty in particular has thrived in 2018 after managing seven top-grade matches last season and puts the strong start to his first full campaign to having the freedom to roam at the back.

“At the start of the year, week to week, I just tried to do my job and play the best footy I could but, probably ever since that Cronulla game [in round six], I've been feeling really comfortable,” he said.

"Gaz and Benny and the forward pack have just been letting me do my own thing which is the style of footy I like to play. I don't like to play too structured.

“I like to play off the cuff and just play footy. That's how I've played my whole life and to have the halves and the spine we do this year it's given me the opportunity to do the same thing.”

The Dragons suffered their first major hiccup in a 24-10 loss to Souths last week, but Dufty will head into Sunday's clash with Canberra in Mudgee high on confidence after re-finding his mojo against the Rabbitohs. 

“The last couple of weeks have been a bit quiet in running terms so I wanted to go out there with a mindset to get my running game back,” Dufty said.

“I think I just caught up in other things, there's so many jobs to do out there, so [last] week there was a conscious decision to get my running and my supports up.

“That's what I was trying to do and it worked a little bit so I'll try and stick to it this week.


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