Dragons assure star Matt Dufty of NRL spot in 2019

St George Illawarra have squashed suggestions they were attempting to offload fullback Matt Dufty, assuring him of his place at the club for the 2019 NRL season.

Dufty was reportedly being shopped around and set to be a casualty of the club's pursuit of Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne.

However, the 22-year-old Dufty has been told his spot is safe after returning to pre-season training earlier than scheduled last week.

"The speculation and misinformation surrounding Matt's future has been disappointing," Dragons recruitment manager Ian Millward said.

"Matt is contracted for 2019 and will definitely be a part of our squad next year, there has never been any internal discussion that suggested otherwise."

It was believed that Dufty was poised to be offloaded to make salary cap room for Hayne, who is still searching for a contract.

Parramatta are under salary cap pressure and must release players if they're to meet Hayne's asking price.

The move doesn't spell the end of the Dragons' pursuit of Hayne with reports utility Kurt Mann could be released to Newcastle.

After debuting in late 2017, Dufty played all 26 of the Dragons' matches this year and nailed down the Red V No.1 jumper.

He is off contract at the end of the 2019 season.

"The club reassured me that if anything was going to happen, they'd let me know before it came out in the papers which is good because I've got a good relationship with the people at the club," Dufty said.

"I'm looking forward to ripping in for the staff and the boys."

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 21:  Matt Dufty of the Dragons makes a break which leads to him scoring a try during the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the St George Illawarra Dragons at 1300SMILES Stadium on July 21, 2018 in Townsville, Australia.  (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Matt Dufty of the Dragons makes a break which leads to him scoring a try against North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville, Australia. Source: Getty