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Dufty credits 'life coach' Clune for stellar Dragons form

Matt Dufty credits his Dragons teammate and "life coach" Adam Clune for igniting the best in his football both on and off the field.

After another accomplished display in Friday's 28-24 win over the Broncos the dazzling fullback's coach Dean Young said Dufty was "in good form, but the reason he is in good form is because of the way he prepares".

Dufty and Dragons half Clune have known each other since grade six and came through the Dragons under-20s together. Dufty had no hesitation with his answer when asked who had been a guiding light in taking his game to the next level.

"I'd have to say Cluney. We've played a lot of footy together and Cluney has always been that ultimate professional," Dufty said.

"He watches video, he does all his recovery and he doesn't miss anything.

"In 20s he always tried to pull me along to do that stuff and I think having him there in pre-season really brought the best out of me.

"He is like a little life coach for me and doesn't let me get away with anything, which is good. I respect him and appreciate that."

Match Highlights: Broncos v Dragons

As a junior Dufty scored tries and set them up at will and it became clear he was a rare gem of a footballer. The next phase of his evolution was always going to be hard work.

"Growing up all my coaches said that the next step to becoming a consistent NRL player is how you prepare, recovery and how you take care of yourself," he said.

"As a young kid I always overlooked it a bit. Last year was an up-and-down rollercoaster season for me and I wasn't training as good as I could have.

"I came in this year in the pre-season with a real focus to be more professional and after I broke my cheekbone at the [NRL] Nines recovery was something I really needed to work on.

"So I looked at buying a house down in Flinders which is really close to training, instead of travelling from Sydney every day. I am getting in early and doing my ice baths. I think it has been a big step for me playing consistent footy."

Dufty is on the ball at all times and whether it is the start or finish of the game has a lease of life about him as a result.

”I have got more energy, I am around the ball more and it is a better mindset knowing that I have done everything possible during the week to play good footy," he said.

Dufty has 11 tries and nine try assists to his credit this year.

His three-man cut-out pass to winger Mikaele Ravalawa against Brisbane was a cracker and the Dragons have changed their attacking structures to get Dufty into the game with his instinctive ability to size up a situation and put a man through a hole.

Dufty and Lomax craft Ravalawa a second

The Dragons fullback credited assistant coach Shane Flanagan for changing it up so that the team now plays football that suits him and halves Clune and Corey Norman. Young explained the benefits.

"Early in his career we played off a longer field position with three ball players and now we are playing off a shorter field position where Dufty is the second ball player with a lot of the shifts," Young said.

"It suits his game to get the ball nice and early with not a lot of shape around him."

Dufty said he "loved" being in that key decision-making situation.

"You have the three options of run, pass and kick," he said.

"It is my evolution as a first grader. Everyone always did video on my running game and in the NRL if you are doing something well it gets shut down pretty quick.

"If you have got multiple things you can do it is harder to shut down."

Dufty said backing up last week's win over the Eels and grinding out a narrow win over the Broncos was a key in the side's development.

"The fact that we held on and didn't put our heads down when the game got tough was a big stepping stone for us," he said.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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