Cody Ramsey could be set for a shock positional switch after inking a bumper new deal with the Dragons — find out more about the Molong Marvel.
Cody Ramsey could be set for a shock positional switch after inking a bumper new deal with the Dragons — find out more about the Molong Marvel.

NRL’s new cult figure inks bumper deal, eyes new role

Cody Ramsey could become a shock long-term replacement for Corey Norman at No. 6 after the rookie winger signed a $1 million Dragon's deal.

News Corp Australia can reveal Ramsey has been identified as a future five-eighth and it was utility value that helped seal a two-year extension that includes a $150,000 a year upgrade to his existing deal

Already contracted to the club until the end of next year, Ramsey on Friday committed to the club until the end of 2024 on a deal that will average out to be worth an estimated $250,000 a season.

Named to start on the wing in Saturday's trial against the Sharks but expected to also play fullback, Ramsey was on a minimum wage deal before the new contract was announced.

He would have earned just $150,000 over the next two years.

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Ramsey refused to go to the open market and recommitted to the Dragons without testing his worth.

"I'm stoked to remain a Dragon for the next few years. I've had a great journey getting to this point in my career and it means a whole lot to my whole family that I've managed to secure my future in the Red V," Ramsey said.

"I still have a lot more improvement and learning in me. That's something that has been drilled into me by all my coaches which I can appreciate. I can't wait to develop further and better myself over the coming years."

Dragons general manager of football Ben Haran said Ramsey was rewarded for his loyalty.

"Cody showed a great desire to remain a Dragon, which is very important for a proud organisation such as St George Illawarra," Haran said.

"We identified a number of years ago that Cody had great potential and we're starting to see him deliver on that now in the top squad.

"To see a quality player and person like Cody come through our junior representative pathway is another pleasing aspect to his retention.

"Cody's ability to play in numerous positions will hold him in good stead over the upcoming season and beyond."

Ramsey could end up becoming the club's long term replacement for Norman with the former Queensland star facing an uncertain future.

 

 

 

 

MEET THE MOLONG MARVEL, NRL'S NEWEST CULT FIGURE

 

 

Cody Ramsey hails from the place of many rocks.

Or says a road sign welcoming visitors to his little bush town of Molong - population 1674 - where this rising St George Illawarra rookie, every few weeks, disappears to fish, hunt pigs, even pour schooners at the Freemasons Hotel, run by mum Kim and stepdad Dave.

Whenever time allows it, you can find Ramsey here.

Continually called back to this village which, 30km north of Orange, and built on a limestone outcrop, derives its unique, if slightly uninspiring name from the local Wiradjuri people.

"And you can Google it," Ramsey says of the bizarre handle.

"That's really what Molong means, the place of many rocks.

"We even have a couple of big ones right in the centre of town."

Which isn't exactly the Big Banana, right?

Nor Golden Guitar or Dog on the Tuckerbox.

But that's OK.

 

Especially when the greatest pic opportunity in Molong could soon be, with apologies to the clump of stones sat downtown, this sometimes pub barman who doubles as the son of a pigeon racer and grandson of a gravedigger.

An unabashed country boy who, still only 21, boasts a scraggly mop of hair he refuses to cut, a Speedy Gonzales thigh tattoo, and the type of athletic ability which - despite falling more than once from his tinnie while fishing off Port Hacking - has seen him score an NRL debut double, net $56,000 for mates at the TAB window, and now head into Saturday's Charity Shield as a genuine Next Big Thing.

Which is timely.

Not only for Dragons fans - who could certainly use something to cheer - but also those of us who continually wish on that next incarnation of Ewan McGrady, Bubba Kennedy, even the Cleal boys.

Which is why you should know that whenever he gets consecutive days off, Ramsey heads west for a pub which, built in the 1850s, and offering five BBQ chicken packs for that next badge draw winner, mum Kim runs while also raising daughters Alize and Jameson - named, wonderfully, after the liqueur and Irish whiskey, respectively.

 

Know too that older brother Jesse, up north in Cairns, is living exactly as you'd expect a fella who, when approached in his teens by Penrith scouts, who spoke excitedly about an NRL trial, said, sorry, but he was headed piggin'.

An answer little brother not only understands, but respects.

After all, this is the cult NRL prospect whose left foot is tattooed with the words 'I'm Tired'. On the right, 'Me Too'.

"Same as my grandfather," the Dragons winger says.

Huh?

"My pop Jim has the same tattoos on his feet," he says, going again. "They're dodgy home jobs, but I've been looking down at them my whole life.

"I always thought 'who does that?'.

"But they were just so funny … that's why I went and got 'em too."

And as for Speedy Gonzalez?

"Apparently when I was really little, coming down to visit my pop and uncle in Heathcote, I used to run around the house saying Speedy Gonzalez … or Tweety Gonzalez," he laughs.

"Only thing I said for a year.

"So I got it put on.

 

"My family, they've helped me so much.

"Like my pop, hilarious. He lives at Heathcote, works in a cemetery and has also bred pigeons.

"My dad (Jamie) does the same.

"He's got trophies, goes to shows in Abu Dhabi, even runs his own business - JR Pigeon Supplies - selling seed, feeders, stuff like that."

Ramsey, however, prefers hunting pigs.

Or when a spare afternoon presents, disappearing to fish alone in his tinnie all 15 horsepower motor.

"Although I did take a couple of the boys out once," he says, referencing two housemates. "But a pair of props at the front of a tinnie, the bow right down … I'm going full pelt and it's doing nothing but burn fuel.

"That's why usually I go out by myself."

All of which sounds like a kid living his dream.

But only because you weren't there 18 months ago when every day was a chaotic 16-hour swirl of working as a mechanical plumber, representing Dragons U/20s and trying to survive his first year of life "having never really been anywhere bigger than Heathcote".

Cody Ramsey is hoping to cement a starting berth at the Dragons this season. Picture: Robb Cox/NRL Photos
Cody Ramsey is hoping to cement a starting berth at the Dragons this season. Picture: Robb Cox/NRL Photos

Eventually hit so bad by anxiety and stress, Ramsey consulted counsellors while self-medicating on constant caffeine.

"I was just so wrecked," he recalls.

"I was having coffee through the day at work and then, before training, a Red Bull plus a No Doze tablet."

What you had to do?

"Probably not, but it's what I did," he shrugs. "When you're facing adversity, you just try to get through.

"And I had a lot of anxiety.

"Trying to manage work, footy, living expenses, plus travelling from Sydney to Wollongong every day, it really affected me.

"Thankfully, I lived with pop and my aunty for a while which helped.

"But still, I was phoning my parents every day on that drive from the city to training, speaking with the same tone in my voice.

"That's why, eventually, they got me to see some people."

Cody Ramsey likes to fishing and pig-hunting in his spare time. Picture: AAP
Cody Ramsey likes to fishing and pig-hunting in his spare time. Picture: AAP

Importantly, Ramsey leaned not only on counsellors, or family, but also St George legend Mark Coyne, whose own family he became close to while playing also with Gymea.

Better, the Molong Marvel survived - and has since thrived.

Not only starring at the 2020 NRL Nines, or scoring a debut double against Canberra in Round 18 - which included, with his first touch, netting $56K for all those mates who backed him as first tryscorer - but even creating headlines for mum, who was interviewed by Fox Sports in the grandstand at halftime.

"And she's rung me a dozen times since saying there's someone else come into the pub who has recognised her," he laughs. "She loves it."

Yet what of her admission, during that same interview, suggesting patrons were streaming said debut on iPhones given the Freemasons has no pay TV?

"I'd like to think that changes this year," he grins. "Although they'll probably just hook everything to a laptop, then run a HDMI cable to the TV."

But what more apt way to view the Molong Marvel?

This fella who hunts pigs, refuses to cut his hair and hails from the place of many rocks.

A likely Dragons cult figure who, after re-signing with the Red V for a further three years on Friday, already knows exactly where all future contract bonuses will go.

"Bigger boat," he grins.

 

Originally published as NRL's new cult figure inks bumper deal, eyes new role



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