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Young to exit Dragons as NRL-wide assistant moves heat up

Dragons interim coach Dean Young has officially told the club he will leave at the end of the season, bringing to a close his 17-year association with the Red V.

Young is understood to be weighing up offers to join the Cowboys and Newcastle under Todd Payten or Adam O'Brien respectively as the assistant coaching merry-go-round cranks up.

The changeover of five NRL head coaches this year has created upheaval among right-hand men across the game.

Young told St George Illawarra officials on Wednesday that he would depart after next Sunday's final-round clash with Melbourne at Kogarah.

He was offered a role on Anthony Griffin's staff for next season but will instead join fellow assistants Shane Flanagan and James Shepherd in departing the club.

Young's time in red and white stretches back to his 2003 debut and takes in a cherished premiership under Wayne Bennett in 2010 and a stint as caretaker coach this year after taking over from Paul McGregor.

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Flanagan and Manly's John Cartwright loom as well and truly over-qualified options in the assistant market for 2021 after both were moved on by their respective clubs last week.

Given their experience and credentials both are expected to pick up roles somewhere in the game next season, though the still unknown football department cap for 2021 remains a hurdle to several appointments.

Brisbane's head coaching appointment – where Paul Green and Kevin Walters are still the firm front-runners – is the other curveball in the assistant coaching equation, with the likes of Cartwright and one-time Broncos assistant Stephen Kearney touted as possible additions pending who lands the top job.

Current Newcastle assistant David Furner, who along with Young was beaten to the Dragons post by Griffin, is expected to join Trent Barrett's new staff at Canterbury next season.

Interim Bulldogs coach Steve Georgallis is among those moved on by the club at the end of the season, with the veteran assistant yet to sort his future beyond Belmore.

Meanwhile the Warriors are understood to be close to sealing a move for current Titans assistant Craig Hodges – who took charge of the club briefly late last year after Garth Brennan's exit – to replace Payten on Nathan Brown's 2021 staff.

Melbourne are also exploring their options given Craig Bellamy's chief offsider Jason Ryles will link with the English rugby union side under Eddie Jones in November.

Current development coaches Ryan Hinchcliffe and Craig's son Aaron have been discussed by Storm management for possible promotions to replace Ryles, though the club hasn't ruled out an external appointment either.