Lomax on good terms with Griffin, back using old tee
St George Illawarra centre Zac Lomax insists he is on good terms with Anthony Griffin despite being sensationally axed from the first-grade side in the final weeks of the ousted coach's tenure at the Dragons.
The Dragons were handed a cruel blow in the post-script of their win over the Sydney Roosters on Saturday, with prop Blake Lawrie ruled out for up to four weeks with a fractured finger.
But as the side ushers in the post-Griffin era, Lomax has reason to stay positive now that he has returned to the NRL in his preferred position of right centre and reverted to his old goal-kicking tee.
Lomax was the highest-profile victim of the form slump that eventually cost Griffin his job, the coach dropping the 23-year-old after he struggled on a shift to the left edge.
After the round-nine loss to Canterbury, Griffin gave Lomax a week off football altogether, withdrawing him from reserve-grade contention and opting not to discuss his axing until the centre had taken time to clear his head.
Lomax spent his first weekend out of the NRL visiting family and his second playing a pivotal role in the NSW Cup side's defeat of Newcastle.
"Being a country boy, I'm away from my family all the time so to be able to go back and spend some time with them was really good," Lomax explained.
Lomax insisted his relegation from the first-grade side had not been a source of tension with Griffin in his final days as coach.
"I really enjoyed playing NSW Cup," he said.
"Everyone's there wanting to get into the first-grade team so it was really good to go back and enjoy my footy again, play with a smile on my face.
"It was just about understanding my craft and going back and competing."
Lomax never had the chance to prove to Griffin he had taken his lessons back to the NRL; the coach was axed only two days after his foray into reserve grade.
But he predicted he would remain close with Griffin and felt for him.
"My reaction is firstly as a man and as a person first," Lomax said.
"It's a brutal business sometimes but obviously my thoughts go out to him because Hook and (Griffin's wife) Helen, they're beautiful people.
"Hook's a good dude. He's a great fella, I wish him all the best, absolutely. I'm sure I'll see Hook around."
Interim coach Ryan Carr promoted Lomax for his first game in charge and started him in his preferred position of right centre in the 24-22 win over the Roosters.
Lomax looked considerably more comfortable than in his last first-grade match, when Canterbury centre Jake Averillo outgunned him on the left.
"It obviously feels a lot more natural, I feel a lot more at home," Lomax said.
Lomax's wayward goal-kicking cost the Dragons in the first five games of their losing streak, during which they scored the same number of tries as their rivals - or more.
He kicked with only 60.53 per cent accuracy after switching to a lower tee this season but has now reverted to his old tee in a bid to recapture his best form.
Lomax kicked four from five attempts against the Roosters, including the game-winning strike after the siren.
"It was good to see a few go over," he said.
"I've been working really hard at it. It's just about staying composed, I was super thankful tonight."