‘I feel for Mary and his family’: Dufty won’t dance on coach’s grave

One of the biggest blunders made by departing St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor was telling Matt Dufty he was free to look elsewhere last summer.

Dufty told the Herald he was set to join Huddersfield in England, and had even convinced his partner it would be a good move for the pair of them, only for the club to sign Canberra playmaker Aidan Sezer.

Matt Dufty is not about to dance on Paul McGregor’s grave after the coach told him to find another club.Credit:Getty Images

"It's hard to talk about as players because you like coaches and I had 'Mary' from when I debuted.''

Late last year, however, it was a different story for the pint-sized fullback and his relationship with McGregor and the club.

"I've never not been a good footballer,'' Dufty said.

"I played really good footy in 2018, but last year they signed Corey Norman and I ended up playing reserve grade – on the wing – then they told me they didn't want me at the club any more. They said, 'don't come back in the pre-season, you're free to find another club'.

Matt Dufty and Zac Lomax have added plenty of spark to the Red V attack.Credit:Getty Images

"It was shattering for me personally. I was close to going to England. We were talking to Huddersfield and then they signed Aidan Sezer.

"It got to the point I was keen about moving to England and playing in the Super League. I convinced myself it was going to happen. They wanted an answer. Then they signed Aidan.

"If someone asked me to go to England now, I'd say, 'no way, you're dreaming'.

"I stayed here, pushed myself in the pre-season, and mentally I matured.''

Dufty, who was also on the radar of the Gold Coast before they signed Corey Thompson, has grown in confidence each game and his speed continues to leave rival teams second-guessing themsevles. He will keep Parramatta players on their toes at Bankwest Stadium.

Dufty said his opposite No. 1, Clint Gutherson, was the fittest and best fullback in the game right now.

"Gutho has gone to a new level this year and has been the best fullback in the comp,'' Dufty said.

"He's out-worked every fullback in the comp and he's the fittest.''

As for Blake Ferguson, the Eels winger who is struggling to find his confidence and the try line – he remains without a four-pointer after 13 rounds – Dufty said: "Hopefully we see none of his [celebratory] backflips.''

McGregor will pass the reins to assistant Dean Young after the Bankwest Stadium clash with the former Dragon to rely on the calmness and experience of fellow assistant Shane Flanagan over the final six weeks.

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