St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor says he was surprised teenage winger Jason Saab requested a release from the club.
The Dragons confirmed on Friday that they had knocked back a request from Saab to leave the club and walk out on his current deal, that ends in 2022.
A talented winger, Saab is believed to have been frustrated by being overlooked for the past fortnight and could prefer a club closer to his western-Sydney base.
But McGregor said the two-metre tall winger would have played this year if not through injury and he wanted him to remain with the Red V.
“It’s quite surprising. I’ve got a good relationship with Jason, I gave him his debut at 18. He played three games,” McGregor said.
“Unfortunately he needed a shoulder reconstruction and he had a broken foot.
“He was on the mend, he had a really good pre-season. He wasn’t quite right for selection in round two otherwise he would have been selected.
“He knows that.
“We’ve only had one game since. Now I’ve heard this morning he wants a release. He has a great future in the game and we want it to be at this club.”
Saab scored three tries in his three games last year and was also part of NSW’s successful under-20s State of Origin side.
Meanwhile the Dragons moved quick to lock in rookie halfback Adam Clune to a two-year deal on Friday, ahead of his debut against Canterbury.
Clune is in no doubt for Monday’s clash with the Bulldogs, after copping a hit to the nose earlier in the week from Paul Vaughan in training.
McGregor on Friday hailed his composure, after he was halfback of the year in NSW Cup in 2019.
Monday’s game will mark his 100th game for the Dragons and coincides with his 25th birthday.
“Re-signing wasn’t something I had expected or given thought to especially so early in the season but it’s an exciting moment in my career,” Clune said.
“I’ve never been in this position previously.
“My journey has been different to most so to re-sign for a further two years is incredible.”
Clune was only upgraded to a top 30 contract, from a development player deal, after an impressive pre-season campaign.