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Why Sloan said no to Bennett, as new Dragons deal nears

Joe Gould -

Tyrell Sloan had some "good conversations" with Wayne Bennett when the Dolphins were interested in signing him, but the St George Illawarra fullback had to say no to the mastercoach.

"Home is where my heart is," the Dapto junior said, explaining why he couldn't leave the Dragons

The off-contract 21-year-old scored a hat-trick in the 28-4 win over Gold Coast in round one and will on Sunday take on Bennett's Dolphins in Redcliffe.

AAP has been told Sloan's management and the Dragons have opened negotiations with the Wollongong-raised speedster to extend his stay at the club.

He signed a three-year deal with the Red V at the start of 2022 - when there was also interest from Bennett in taking Sloan to the Dolphins.

The flying fullback was flattered by Bennett's interest.

"I didn't get to see any of the deal ... but I spoke to Wayne," he said.

"There was just a connection between us two … we had some good conversations.

"I've got to say I was pretty young in the head. It is pretty cool when you have one of those guys (interested) but that ship has sailed.

"That is in the past. I am at the Dragons. No regrets."

Sloan was raised by his grandmother Colleen in Wollongong, where he attended Koonawarra Public School and Dapto High.

He is settled in the city and last year bought a house in the suburb of Horsley.

Having realised his childhood dream, he likes to make appearances at the schools he attended to provide an example of where hard work can get you.

The Dragons are more than just a footy club for Sloan, who loves the area in which he grew up.

"It is home and a big part of it was my nan. I wouldn't be able to leave her … and also my brother (Ashley)," he said.

"In the (NRL's COVID-19) bubble I struggled. I was with my friends but home is where my heart is. I try to represent that as much as I can. I wouldn't be able to leave home."

Sloan has had his ups and downs and has previously detailed how he asked club chairman Craig Young for a release in 2022 but was knocked back.

At the time he said he doubted the club believed in him as a fullback. Young convinced him the Dragons had a high opinion of his ability and potential.

New coach Shane Flanagan challenged Sloan in the pre-season to earn the No.1 jersey - and he did exactly that after recovering from an ankle injury.

"(Flanagan) just wants the best for me as a person and a player," Sloan said.

"We have a very strong connection.

"Coming back into pre-season with the team in January gave me a lot of confidence.

"I had to catch-up a lot with the fitness but now I am back with a smile on my face."

Joe Gould - AAP

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