Business is business but Soward feels robbed of farewell

By , 10/10/2018 09:47

Outgoing St George Illawarra five-eighth Jamie Soward feels robbed of having the chance to farewell the Dragons faithful but says his impending short stint move to England is the best outcome for he and his former club.

After weeks of turmoil and unrest, Soward has left the Dragons and will link up with English Super League club London Broncos for the rest of this year before starting with Penrith on a four-year-deal.

In his only interview since announcing the switch, Soward defended his relationship with the Dragons senior players, was critical of his form and spoke of his disappointment of not being offered a contract extension at the club beyond this year.

“It was [disappointing],” Soward said. “We’ve said all along it’s a business and I think everyone understand that if your current job doesn’t want to retain you, you have to look elsewhere. The Panthers offer was very enticing and I’m very excited about joining the Panthers.”

His last moment as a Dragon will be missing an after the siren penalty goal against Canterbury on May 31. Soward hasn’t featured in the NRL squad since that, instead axed to NSW Cup and forced to train with Illawarra Cutters part-time. He wouldn’t confirm if his relationship with coach Steve Price was strained but said he had maintained a strong bond with the playing group.

“I’m not going to comment on mine and Pricey’s relationship,” Soward said. “I’d rather talk about the good times like Pricey being an assistant coach to our 2010 premiership win.

“I’ve got no problems with the senior players and they have no problems with me. I’ve spoken to Ben Creagh a lot recently and they are lifelong mates who obviously didn’t want it to end this way. I will be mates with them and I’m sure if they wanted to catch up for an orange juice we would.”

He leaves the Dragons with a premiership and world title. He is also the joint-ventures leading point-scorer with 997 points from 140 games since joining the club midway through 2007.

“I haven’t got sour grapes,” Soward said. “When I signed with Penrith the club wanted to look for the future as part of giving Pricey the right roster. My form hadn’t been great this year, whether I should have been dropped or not, isn’t for me to comment but I seem to get the blame when we lose.

“Dousty (CEO Peter Doust) was very professional with the way he handled things behind the scenes. It may seem like this has happened very quickly but it’s been a long couple of weeks for me and my family.

“The most disappointing thing for me is that I don’t get the chance to say goodbye to the fans. I know with the way it’s played out, everyone comes with their own opinion. When I came to the Dragons everyone was so receptive and I guess when we won the premiership everyone was relieved. They are great memories that we are always going to share.”

It is hard to believe that just two years ago, Soward was preparing for his second game for NSW and went on to feature in the entire three match series. Now he is busy packing his home to relocate to London to join the Broncos as he waits for his visa to be approved. London sit second to last on the ladder.

“I’ve been in contact with (London coach) Tony Rea and he has been sending the game plans over,” Soward said.

Soward’s departure allows the Dragons to step up their chase for the immediate signing of Canberra half Sam Williams.

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