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St George Illawarra utility Kurt Mann has requested and been granted a release from the final year of his Dragons playing contract.

Mann played 60 games for the Dragons after joining the club at the beginning of the 2016 season. He has signed with another NRL team for the 2019 season and beyond.

Mann thanked the Dragons as well as the club's members and fans for their support.

"I want to thank the Dragons and its members and fans for all their support over the past three years – it has meant so much to have worn the Red V jumper," Mann said.

"I am also very appreciative to the Dragons for allowing me the opportunity to shore up my long-term future in the NRL by agreeing to release me.

"It wasn't an easy decision as I've formed many lifelong friendships over the years I've spent at the Dragons, and I wish them all the best in the coming season."

Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways and List Management Ian Millward said the club factored in the 25-year-old's personal desires when coming to a decision.

"We have been in dialogue with Kurt and his management for a long period of time," Millward said.

"He was offered a long-term contract and more security in regards to his playing minutes and being a starting player. We understood his desires regarding this, one he's been persistent about it. 

"At this point, we haven't found a suitable replacement – we're still on the lookout for someone. But we also feel we're in a much better position financially, and we will be ready to move those funds when the right person becomes available."

The Dragons still have three spots to fill in their Top 30, and Millward has dictated the club is still on the hunt for a quality outside back.

"The market dictates a lot what you're looking for as well as clubs and player movement. We're still on the lookout for an outside back of some quality," Millward said.

"We will sign a couple of players but they aren't at the moment what we're looking for in terms of Kurt's replacement. 

"We also know we have plenty of really good emerging players here at this club who are ready for an opportunity.

"You look at Jai Field, Zac Lomax, Reece Robson and even players like Blake Lawrie and Jacob Host who will be looking to make further inroads in their own NRL careers."

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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