NRL 2024; Dragons coach Shane Flanagan glad Zac Lomax saga is over


St George Illawarra coach Shane Flanagan is confident in Zac Lomax’s full commitment to the Dragons’ 2024 cause now his move to the Eels next season has been confirmed.

Flanagan became visibly annoyed last week amid constant questions over the wantaway star who has agreed terms with Parramatta on a four-year deal with all parties now appeased.

Lomax declared his full focus was for the Dragons and while Flanagan said the ongoing speculation hadn’t been a distraction, he was glad it had been “put to bed”.

Flanagan also said Lomax wasn’t the only player at the Dragons who would be elsewhere next season and the players were locked in on Friday’s clash with the Warriors.

“It hasn’t really interrupted us, bar the external noise (but) I’d like to think that it’s put to bed now,” Flanagan said on Thursday.

“To Zac’s credit, look at his form – it’s been outstanding, so it hasn’t affected him.

“When he’s been at training and within the playing group, he’s been fantastic.

“There’s a lot of players that aren’t going to be at the club they’re at at the moment next year. He’s one of them, so we’ll just move on.”

Lomax’s concerns intensified after he was moved from his preferred position at centre to the wing by Flanagan.

But an injury to Jack Bird means Lomax will be back at centre on Friday night, with off-season recruit Christian Tuipulotu to make his club debut on the wing.

“He came late to the club, after Christmas, and he had to learn a few things and get himself ready to play for us,” Flanagan said of Tuipulotu.

“He’s done that, he’s played well in reserve grade and he deserves his chance.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing him play tomorrow.”

Tuipulotu was one of a handful of late signings for the Dragons during the off-season, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Luciano Leilua also joining in the new year.

Flanagan’s 30-man roster is now complete after journeyman utility Fa’amanu Brown this week filled the final spot.

“There were a couple of sleepless nights there around Christmas time, worrying about where we are come round 1,” he said.

“But it’s sort of fallen into place.”