Matt Dufty says he’s made a conscious effort to get the low-percentage plays out of his game in a bid to become a far more consistent fullback.
Dufty was the star of St George Illawarra’s 26-10 win over Parramatta on Sunday night, putting the Dragons inside the top four with their fourth straight win.
The Dragons No.1 remains off contract at the club and wants to re-sign, with talks between his management and the Dragons slowly progressing.
But performances like Sunday night will only help.
The 25-year-old scored twice and set up the Dragons’ other two tries in the big win, joking afterwards he could be dropped for playing laterally under Anthony Griffin’s direct game style.
The majority of Griffin’s messages are, however, sinking in.
Dufty leads the Dragons for linebreaks, tries and tackle busts, but while still making less errors and missing 75 per cent fewer tackles on previous years.
“I’m not a black-and-white kind kind of player. I play in the grey,” Dufty said.
“But I’m not doing the the low-percentage plays I’d say, I don’t do that as much (compared to previous years).
“It’s not about those big plays for me this year. It’s about doing those little things right.
“Being in position to save tries, stuff like that. I’d rather do that than score 20 tries this year.”
Dufty has long maintained he can be among the NRL’s best fullbacks if he finds his consistency, having made no secret of the fact he is motivated by watching other No.1s star.
The step up in his ball-playing skills was notable last year, as he set up 15 tries in 18 games.
But this season he has made a deliberate effort to be more around the ruck under Griffin, with a far quicker contest going back to suiting his running game.
Sunday night was the first time he found a pure mix of the two in one of the best games of his career.
“I knew it was a big game (against Parramatta) and every other fullback has been carving up in the comp. So I thought I better step it up,” Dufty said.
“I’ve been around the ruck a lot more this year hanging around for those offloads or quick play-the-balls.
“I’m always hanging around begging for that little inside ball, that half break.
“That’s just the next evolution of my game, trying to mix last year’s ball-playing with this year’s around the ruck.
“I haven’t really got the opportunities to to ball play that much this year. But (on Sunday) I was lucky enough to get in the right spot, and they seek that effect.”