IT may have played a role in his departure to the Bulldogs, but Matt Dufty is confident he'll be leaving the Dragons No. 1 jumper in good hands in rookie Tyrell Sloan.
Dufty formalised a one-year deal with the Bulldogs last week after being told his contract at the Dragons wouldn't be extended beyond this year.
The emergence of Sloan factored heavily into that call, with the 19-year-old turning heads in two top-grade outings this season.
The Dapto junior's grabbed two tries in as many games and laid on another for Gerard Beale on an otherwise forgettable night against Manly last week.
He'll make way for Dufty's return from suspension against the Titans on Sunday, but the club's regular custodian is happy to mentor his successor over the back end of the season.
"Sloany's a great kid, he's electric," Dufty said.
"It was one of the highlights of the weekend, getting to sit in the stands and watch the way he cruises around the field.
"I did a of video with him last week and sat down one-on-one trying to help him out because everyone forgets he's still very young.
"There was obviously a bit going on at the club and it was a bit if a disrupted preparation for him. It would've been hard for a seasoned NRL player let alone someone in their second game.
"He's a great kid, he loves to learn, he loves asking questions, he's just a good guy to be around. I'd love to help him anyway I can before I leave."
It goes both ways, with the 19-year-old's presence ensuring Dufty won't simply cruise to finish on his way out of the club.
"We're just helping each other at the moment, I help him with the little things, numbers and things like that, and he's keeping me on my toes to play good footy," Dufty said.
"He gives everything a hundred per cent and it's good for me to have that competition there, especially in the bubble when we're around each other 24-7 at the moment.
"Anything can happen, especially with everything that's going on at the moment, you never know who's going to play next week. Someone might have a cough and have sit out, it is what it is.
"There's a lot of good young juniors coming through and Sloany's one to watch for the future."
Watching Sloan go about his business may have been pleasant viewing, but Dufty couldn't say the same about the rest of his side's effort against the Sea Eagles.
As one of the first members of the club's dirty dozen to serve a one-game suspension for breaching COVID protocols, the loss proved salt in the wounds.
"Sitting on the bench, it was one of the hardest games I've had to sit out of and watch," Dufty said.
"I really felt I owed it to the club and everyone associated with us, fans, other players, to get out there and play.
"We had a pretty disruptive week with everything that went on and then moving to Queensland and sitting on the bench and losing the way we did... I just really wanted to play, so I can't wait to get out there this week.
"We owe it to Hook (Anthony Griffin) and we owe it to everyone else in the team, our fans, to give it our best and we've still got a chance to play finals.
"We're still in the eight and we'll have been in Queensland for a few weeks once everyone serves their suspension.
"If we can win a few games in these next couple of weeks we put ourselves in a real good position to play finals.
"The loss on the weekend really hurt. If we got that one we would've been in a better spot, but we've got a chance to come out this week and put in a better performance."
The 25-year-old admits to feeling a "massive weight" off his shoulders after settling his future beyond this season, but he's determined to leave his junior club on a good note.
"I just want to come out and finish my Dragons time on a high," he said.
"The club's given me so much since I was a 13-year-old kid. I love the organisation and feel like I owe it to everyone to put my best foot forward and finish off the year strong.
"Obviously the last few months have been a bit up and down with my mental state but I want to finish my time strongly with the Dragons, you don't want to burn any bridges in the NRL.
"I just want to finish off the year really well, hopefully play some finals footy, and move onto the Dogs next year."