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Phil Clarke says star man not good enough to get his side to Grand Final as he reveals astonishing stat

Before Warrington Wolves took on Catalans Dragons in a high intensity top of the table clash, Phil Clarke raised a question about their star fullback Matt Dufty who arrived from the NRL last season.

“I’m not sure Matt Dufty is the kind of player who can lead a side to a Grand Final,” Clarke questioned of the number one who has been electric in 2023.

“If you look at the teams who have made the Grand Final and won it, last year was St Helens with Jack Welsby at full-back,” Clarke added even though Welsby didn’t start the Grand Final at fullback with injuries forcing him into the halves with Jon Bennison and Will Hopoate sharing the fullback role.

Clarke continued: “Personally, I think you need a player who can play out the back and I am not yet convinced that he has that ability.

“But he may develop that over the course of the year. They could also still do it without a play-making full-back, I accept that. But I am not convinced.”

It was as if Dufty heard Clarke coming up with a brilliant assist for Josh Thewlis.

At halftime, Clarke then joked: “I am just waiting to be delivered a knife and fork so I can eat my words.”

However, Clarke was still not convinced: “That’s the first time I have seen it, it is different doing it across the course of a season.”

Then, last night ahead of Warrington’s defeat to Wigan, Clarke doubled down on his belief with an astonishing statistic:

“When I made that comment Warrington had scored 40 tries at that point and only one of the 40 tries had been scored from a pass from Matt Dufty.

“I don’t deny that he is a fantastic runner of the ball and his support play is arguably better than any fullback.

“If Warrington make a break, he is invariably there.

“But I wasn’t sure and I am still not sure about him after just one try. They have scored just two tries from his passes that he has created for his teammates.”

He then compared Dufty to the two players who played fullback in last year’s Grand Final:

“When you look at the two fullbacks who played in last year’s Grand Final you see Jack Welsby and Richie Myler’s ability to get on the ball is far greater.

“Whether you want your player to be a good running back or a quarter-back is an interesting question but a good fullback can make a team look like they have 14 players.”

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