Speculation over the NRL future of dropped St George Illawarra half Corey Norman is unfair, according to St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor.
On Wednesday it was reported former skipper Gareth Widdop had contacted the Dragons to sound out a return to the club just 12 months after he left to finish his rugby league career in the UK.
Hours earlier, Norman was dropped for Thursday night's clash with Sydney Roosters, prompting reports a player swap is on the cards to allow the Dragons to move on the out of favour State of Origin half.
However, on Wednesday afternoon McGregor denied having any conversations with the club's recruitment and retention committee about a swap between the two halves.
"That's really unfair to Corey," McGregor said.
"The first time he hasn't been picked in 18 months at the club and we're talking about Gareth coming back already.
"That's too unfair at this raw stage to even talk about and it hasn't been mentioned to me with the recruitment either.
"I have not been told anything about that and it's just so unfair to Corey.
"We want Corey to play well this year."
Widdop departed the Dragons at the end of last season with two years left on his deal to pursue an opportunity with Warrington to play out his career in his home country.
When he was released, the Dragons held the right to have first option to sign him if he was to ever return to the NRL.
However, they would need to move Norman on to make it a financially logical decision.
The 29-year-old Norman has been out of form for the Dragons this season and McGregor said a failure to manage last week's loss to South Sydney was behind his axing.
Although McGregor said he doesn't "make selection decisions in a week", Norman did not show enough smarts in attack to polish off the Rabbitohs when they lost skipper Adam Reynolds early.
"Last week was a little bit about game management when key people were off the field," McGregor said.
"Obviously (we need him to have) more skin in the game in his creativity, he's a very good player and we just need a little bit more out of him."
Adam Clune has been named at halfback in his return from injury alongside Ben Hunt in the halves for the clash with the Roosters in Wollongong.
Australian Associated Press