Coming into the 2020 season, Zac Lomax was meant to be the first-choice fullback for the Dragons, and after signing a five-year contract extension in the off-season, no one was arguing.
But after a 0-4 start to the 2020 season, all bets were off.
Lomax only made the single start at fullback and a second start on the wing, then in a very surprising show of vision from Paul McGregor, Lomax was moved to right centre – Mark Gasnier’s old position.
In the following seven rounds not only has Lomax demonstrated enough skill to make the centre position his own but his sparkling form has caught the notice of NSW Origin selectors.
Lomax is an accomplished goal kicker and still only 20. He is tall at 190 centimetres and a solid 95 kilos of muscle and pace.
The thing that caught the most attention was Lomax’s Gasnier-type flick pass to winger Mikaele Ravalawa that put the winger over in the corner in the game against Manly. It was scintillating and a demonstration of Lomax’s evolving skill set.
If Matt Cooper and Mark Gasnier had a love child, he’d look like Zac Lomax!
Centre Tim Lafai is going to be the next mid-season departure from the Dragons as he heads back to the Dogs.
And another Dragons centre off contract in 2020 is Euan Aitken. My mail is that despite a few strong performances, the Dragons will not be offering Aitken a contract for 2021.
The metrics say he’s undersized at 182 centimetres tall and 93 kilos but most telling is that he has a poor passing game, he can’t put a winger away, and he generally steps inside then takes the tackle.
Jordan Pereira has one try this year compared to Ravalawa’s six. There are a number of high calibre juniors coming through including the Feagai twins and Aitken is seen as an impediment for them coming through.
Brayden Wiliame was signed from the Super League as a two-year rental to cover until the end of 2021 to allow the youth to come through.
While the 2020 season has been bleak at times for the Dragons, there is definitely causes for hope.
The real question is whether Paul McGregor is the man to bring it all together? Personally, I say so.
But the next super coach isn’t so easy to find. Craig Fitzgibbon and Shane Flanagan are not available until 2022. Can the Dragons wait that long?
My argument of bringing back Nathan Brown wasn’t very popular. If not Brown, then who in 2021?