THE Dragons’ season may have been stopped in its tracks by coronavirus but Argus readers still get their annual chance to honour their top performer.

Voting is open for the Argus Dragon of the Year with six of Dean Ryan’s squad in the running for the honour.

Back row forward Taine Basham, tighthead prop Leon Brown, fly-half Sam Davies, loosehead prop Brok Harris, lock Matthew Screech and scrum-half Rhodri Williams are the candidates after strong campaigns for the region.

Throughout this week we have given the lowdown on the potential winners that are looking to succeed last year’s winner Aaron Wainwright. Today’s nominee is MATTHEW SCREECH

South Wales Argus:

Other candidates may grab the headlines but they have been able to do so thanks to grafters like the 27-year-old from Porth.

Screech had a terrific 2019/20, shouldering a heavy burden in the boilerhouse with Joe Davies.

With Wales lock Cory Hill and Samoa international Brandon Nansen injured, Screech has not just racked up the minutes but been a vital figure in the ever-improving pack.

The forward made 19 appearances out of 19, 18 of them starts.

He finished 12th in the season's PRO14 tackle charts with 125, posting an impressive 90 per cent completion rate.

Screech's displays alongside Davies played a part in Hill returning from injury as a blindside rather than lock in December and he was to the fore over the festive period.

Those displays led to his former teammate Andrew Coombs expressing his disappointment at the lack of a Six Nations call-up.

"I think that Screechy is really unlucky to not be in that squad," said Coombs, who won 10 caps.

"They've been asking players to stay in Wales and play well in Wales, and he has ticked every box.

"Instead they have picked somebody who is playing in the Gallagher Premiership (Wasps' Will Rowlands) over him and that's pretty hard on Screechy.

"That big lock is what the coaches are looking for and if Wayne thinks that is going to deliver results then he is right to go with it.

"But that doesn't make it any easier on Screechy, you only have to look at his performances over Christmas to see how physical he is."

"When I was at the Dragons he was young and raw but he has come on such much," continued Coombs.

"He has got better and better at the lineout but for me his biggest attribute is just how busy he is around the field.

"Screechy is an athlete and if he keeps working hard then I am sure he will eventually get that opportunity with Wales.

"He just has to keep knocking on the door and putting in the performances that he did in the derbies because he is a talented player."

South Wales Argus:

Hill, whose departure will lead to Screech being an even more important figure, was impressed by the locks' performances in his absence.

"You don’t just come back and get the jersey, you’ve got to work for it,” he said.

“Joe and Screechy have been fantastic for the Dragons over the last couple of years, not just over the last few months."

Boss Dean Ryan will demand that the lock at least matches his consistency of 2019/20.

Vote for your Dragon of the year: HERE