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Discussion in 'St George Illawarra Dragons' started by getsmarty, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Dragons Unveil Commemorative Jersey
    Wed 19th April, 02:00PM
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    The St George Illawarra Dragons 2017 commemorative jersey for the ANZAC Day clash against the Sydney Roosters will honour the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign.

    The jersey design features a map of the historic Kokoda trail – that was sourced from the Kokoda Memorial Walkway – below the traditional Red V that is emblazoned with red poppies for the occasion.

    The Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway, located in Concord, plays an important role in honouring those who for fought for Australia during World War II.

    The Walkway's principle focus is to highlight and educate others of the sacrifices made in battle along the Kokoda Track throughout 1942-43.

    The significant anniversary of Kokoda is being commemorated across the game in Round 8 in conjunction with the NRL, RSL, War Memorial and Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces to appropriately honour those who served our countries.

    Dragons fans will be given the opportunity to bid on player-worn commemorative jerseys, with the auction set to commence on Monday, April 24 and end on Monday, May 1.

    A percentage of the auction proceeds will go towards the Australian War Memorial.

    The Club will also provide signed jerseys to the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway and Australian War Memorial to support their ongoing awareness and fundraising activities.

    Read more about the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway here, and visit the Dragons Team Store here.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/04/19/dragons_unveil_comme.af_news.html
     
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  2. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    De Belin mounting strong case for NSW Origin jumper

    Mitch Jennings@@Mitch_Jenno

    19 Apr 2017, 7 p.m.
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    IN THE FRAME: Jack de Belin. Picture: Getty Images

    DRAGONS forward Jack de Belin insists he doesn’t feel all that different, but his teammates and coaches have all noticed some subtle changes in the man known as ‘Bomber’ since he marched into preseason training in October.

    For one, the top knot was gone, but it was more the steel in his eyes and the punishment he was willing to endure on the training paddock. Seven weeks into the season, it’s in the vigour with which he leads the team victory song, having been made custodian of the tune by retiring club great Ben Creagh last season.

    Currently averaging 134 running metres and 33 tackles a game, the 26-year-old is also mounting a compelling case to succeed Paul Gallen in the NSW No. 13 jumper this year. At the very least he's in the conversation but, having been tipped for higher honours ever since he debuted as teenager in 2011, de Belin is well aware that there are lot more players ear-marked for rep football than those who actually play it.

    “My preseason approach wasn’t all that different, I always pride myself on being a hard trainer and you always know you’re going to get a hundred per cent out of me, but I did really want to build of last year,’ de Belin said.

    “It was a good year for me playing some rep footy and being a consistent performer for the Dragons and I just knew it was now or never if I wanted to step up and aspire to those higher rep honours and be a dominant force for the red v.

    “At the end of the day I obviously do want to play rep footy but it all starts with your club footy. You can’t just be a good player, you've got to be a great player that stands out in your side.

    “You can’t just take a back seat and let the game come to you, you’ve got to take it on head-on.

    “That’s how I’ve tried to approach it this year. I know what needs to be done, it’s just a matter of getting it done now.”

    De Belin made what many considered a long overdue rep debut for Country last season alongside new club teammate Paul Vaughan, who’s also making a strong case to join incumbent Blues forward Tyson Frizell in the State of Origin arena.

    While it hasn’t been a huge topic of discussion within the camp, de Belin said his side are approaching the rep selection season with the same pack mentality that’s served them so well in their red-hot start to 2017.

    “If I was to see anyone from the Dragons get that jumper, I’d be just as stoked for them as I would be for myself. That’s the way we are this year,” de Belin said.

    “In year’s gone by I’ve always had the feeling we’d have a good year but this year there was a supreme confidence just knowing all the hard work we put in and the team building we’d done.

    “We knew that was going to amount to something and, we’ve seen early on, that it has. Without getting ahead of ourselves, a lot of it has been player-driven and coming from the leaders and the culture and the way we’re shaping the club at the moment is a really good thing.

    “We’ve totally got each other’s backs and that means a lot when you’re going out and playing in the NRL every week.

    “I’ve been around a while now and it’s a long time since we’ve had this sort of swagger the way we’re bouncing off one another.

    “It’s an unreal feeling knowing that every game we’re going to be turning up for each other.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4606823/de-belin-steps-up-origin-quest/?cs=302
     
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  3. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Nona primed for ISP grand final rematch
    Blake Edwards

    Thu 20th April, 10:00AM
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    Illawarra will be looking to build on recent success when they host Mounties at WIN Stadium on Saturday.

    This will be the first time the two sides have met since the 2016 Intrust Super Premiership grand final where Illawarra defied all odds thank to a field goal at the death by halfback Drew Hutchison.

    The story for the defending premiers this season is very different, with the bulk of their 2016 squad either moving on or earning call-ups to the Dragons NRL squad in 2017.

    While Albion Park-Oak Flats junior Hutchison was firm favourite to fill the No. 7 jumper for the Red V, his unfortunate season-ending knee injury in the pre-season has denied him that chance.

    However, Shaun Nona, one of Hutchison's halves partner in last year's decider still remains at the club and is primed for the upcoming clash.

    With Illawarra coming off a gutsy win over the Wests Tigers last weekend, Nona is confident his team can build on that performance and make some in-roads into the competition.

    The playmaker dismissed any suggestion that the premiers tag is hindering on-field performance, rather the slow start to their premiership defence campaign was a result of their developing roster.

    "It’s been a tough couple of weeks with us suffering consecutive losses but I think we responded positively last weekend," Nona said.

    "Penalties and errors coming out of our own end are hurting us despite us being in the grind with teams most games.

    "I don’t fully agree with the criticism surrounding the team at the moment, and I think a lot of people have got to realise we’ve lost some quality players and are currently teething the next generation as a result.

    "We also have a new coach in Mat Head who has been great but like some players he's still learning his trade too."

    Nona believes the Mounties will be out for revenge after their heartbreaking end to their campaign, but said his team has a bigger point to prove being the defending premiers.

    "I have no doubt Mounties would have circled this game on the calendar and will be out for revenge after being the most consistent team in 2016 and falling at the final hurdle," Nona said.

    "This grand final rematch is a massive game for us. I’m really looking forward to this challenge on Saturday in front of our home fans."

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/04/20/nona_primed_for_isp_.html
     
  4. possm

    possm First Grade

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    I prefer our regular Dragons jumper with the big red V.
     
  5. possm

    possm First Grade

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    I wonder if Nona is happy that he signed with the Dragons.
     
  6. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Red V Member Benefit Survey Released
    Thu 20th April, 02:00PM
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    The St George Illawarra Dragons membership team have released the annual member benefit survey to 2017 Red V Members to seek feedback and understand the opinions and perspectives of our valued members.

    Member feedback is vital so we can continue to build, grow and shape our packages and benefits to suit Red V Members.

    This is a great opportunity for our members to share their thoughts and provide feedback directly to the Dragons specifically in relation to our member benefits as we plan for the 2018 Membership Program.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/04/20/red_v_member_benefit.html
     
  7. Frank Facer

    Frank Facer Juniors

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    I said on the JDB thread recently that I thought DeBelin should even be the first forward chosen for NSW this year. I was listening to the Supercoach podcast this week with Tom Sangster and someone else who I can't remember their name. They were talking about DeBelin. One of the said that DeBelin was the form forward of the competition. The other mentioned Taumalolo, then the other replied that he was talking about players eligible for NSW. They also both then agreed that DeBelin and Taumalolo were the 2 form forwards in the comp. I would also agree with that statement too.

    As I previously said in the JDB thread. I think DeBelin is a player who is made for origin. He is tough, he has a good offload. His front on defence is one of the best in the game. He has a high work rate, his go forward has improved out of sight this year and he is in great form. I think he can become a mainstay in the NSW team and make the blue number 13 his own for the next years or so.

    I will add that when we lost Merrin, I was not overly concerned as I was looking forward to DeBelin getting the opportunity to make the number 13 his own at Saints. I would have liked to see him in the number 13 earlier in his career, with Merrin at prop. At the start of last season I thought that DeBelin could even push for NSW, but I was disappointed with his running game last year. This year he is finally playing like the player I thought he was going to be when he won the under 20's Dally M award.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  8. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Form out the window on Anzac Day: McCrone
    Fri 21st April, 02:00PM
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    St George Illawarra halfback Josh McCrone believes form doesn't matter when it comes to the Dragons' traditional Anzac Day clash against the Sydney Roosters.

    The Temora Dragons junior said thinking of his past experiences playing on Anzac Day gives him chill but warned there is still plenty of improvement left in the Red V.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/04/21/form_out_the_window_.af_news.html
     
  9. Drakon

    Drakon Juniors

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    Widdop re-signs with Dragons


    Sat 22nd April, 09:30AM


    DTV Signing Gareth Widdop
    Captain Gareth Widdop has re-signed with the Dragons for a further four seasons.

    The St George Illawarra Dragons have announced that five-eighth and skipper Gareth Widdop has re-signed for the next four seasons.

    Widdop will now remain at the Red V until the end of the 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership season.

    The England international has been an integral member of the Dragons since his arrival in 2014, where he became sole captain of the club this season.

    Widdop has played 79 games for the Dragons to date, and on Anzac Day against the Sydney Roosters will play his 150th NRL game.

    Widdop also recently became the second-highest pointscorer in St George Illawarra history and is now on track to surpass Jamie Soward's record of 977 points.

    The 28-year-old was pleased to remain at the Dragons for the next four years.

    "The Dragons have grown more and more since I've arrived. There's a good environment here and it's a good place to be so I wanted to play my part in that," Widdop said.

    "At this stage of my career it certainly was a big decision for my family. I have three young kids, I'm very settled here in Wollongong and I'm enjoying my time here.

    "So while it was a big decision, I'm happy to be staying."

    Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways Ian Millward explained the reasoning behind Widdop's deal.

    "We have shown a lot of confidence in Gareth as our long-term leader by offering him a four-year contract," Millward said.

    "We were very conscious of creating stability and consistency in our team and we feel we have achieved that with the re-signing of Gareth.

    "Gareth's our leader and obviously plays in a vital position so we're over the moon that he has re-signed."

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/04/22/widdop_re_signs_with.html
     
  10. possm

    possm First Grade

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    The long term halves combination of Widdop and Hunt will give the Dragons the best chance of remaining competitive for the next four to five years. With McInnes and possibly Dugan also in our spine, this would have to been the strongest spine the Dragons have had for many many years.

    Then there is our forward pack, arguably the form pack of the competition. Can't wait to see them bust through the Rooster's middle on Tuesday.
     
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  11. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Packer pays tribute to Anzacs
    Sat 22nd April, 01:00PM
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    St George Illawarra prop Russell Packer has paid tribute to the troops ahead of Tuesday's traditional Anzac Day clash with the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium, Moore Park.

    Packer shares his experiences of his maiden Anzac Day appearance last year and his thoughts on the Roosters' form.


    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/04/22/packer_pays_tribute_.html
     
  12. gregstar

    gregstar Coach

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    [​IMG]

    i understand their thinking.

    but it looks absolutely sh*thouse.
     
  13. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    How being arrested for drink driving made Paul McGregor a better coach PART 1
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    Here, in the vacant home dressing-room at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, Paul McGregor falls silent.

    He'd reluctantly agreed to this interview in the first place – talking about himself is not his style – but when you raise his drink-driving charge from this time last year he finds it difficult to talk altogether.

    "I'd like to forget about it," the Dragons coach says with a softened voice, eyes at the ground. "It affected me and when it affects you personally, it takes over your life. It's not who I am. I made a really poor error of judgement. A glaring error of judgement that I fully take ownership of."

    McGregor had attended an Anzac charity race day on the Saturday afternoon, had a few more drinks at home that night, got up the next morning, worked away on his laptop for an hour and a half, decided he wanted to train, drove the same road to WIN Stadium he's driven hundreds of times, the same road where he knew the booze bus would be, and even when he saw the police had no fears about being over the limit.

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    Face of experience: Paul McGregor, pictured in 1991. Photo: Fairfax Media

    He blew 0.063, was arrested for low-range drink driving, coached his side to victory over the Roosters on Anzac Day the following afternoon, was fined $10,000 by his club, and, in October in Wollongong Local Court, was placed on a bond with no conviction recorded.

    The incident is a lesson for those of us who think we're fine to drive the next day even after a few drinks the evening before. How many times have you done it?

    But for our purposes it explains where the season started to unravel for the Red V last year. Mary McGregor going DUI wasn't the reason the Dragons couldn't score points, but by his own admission it influenced his coaching.

    "I'm a strong character but I go into silence if I am hurting," McGregor says. "I shut down – because I was hurting a lot. As the boys will tell you, I'm the first to arrive and last to leave. They know how disciplined I am around what I put into the team and the club. If you look at my football team over the last three years, we're one of the most disciplined in the competition for penalties given away. We drive a tight ship around discipline and I certainly compromised that."


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    Illawarra days: Paul McGregor in his beloved Steelers gear. Photo: Steven Siewert/Fairfax Media
    Last summer, though, the coach got his groove back. In exhausting heat, he stood shoulder to shoulder with his players.

    "Not many people know," says international backrower Tyson Frizell, "but he did most of the conditioning with us in the pre-season. He was mixing it with all of us. I've seen coaches in the gym but to hold his own with us boys was good to see."

    Teammate Joel Thompson chimes in: "Mary did it while Tyson was sitting back on holidays. It was my ninth pre-season and it was easily the hardest. You dug deep and really found out what you were about and what you've got inside you. Mary jumped in and when they see your coach get in beside you, there's some added respect."

    One of the players McGregor stood alongside was new hooker Cameron McInnes.

    "He'd be talking to me and I couldn't breathe," the South Sydney recruit laughs. "But he wanted to help me get through. He's a real player's coach."

    When I tell McGregor that last line – "a player's coach" – his eyes light up like I've just told him his off-contract stars Josh Dugan and Gareth Widdop have signed four-year deals to stay.

    Because last year, when the Dragons finished three points out of the top eight but were as exciting to watch as a test pattern – he was was anything but "a player's coach".

    According to almost everyone around the club including himself, McGregor turned himself inside out managing all aspects of the football department. After an off-season review, he went back to doing what he relishes most: coaching.

    "I was overseeing everyone's role and I stepped over the mark to be totally honest. I was across everything and did nothing. I take full responsibility. I'm the head coach. It's my fault. But I lost the connection with the players. I'm a man's man. I stopped being that last year."

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    Details man: McGregor addresses the player group. Photo: Adam McLean

    According to former teammates, McGregor's gear on away trips would be perfectly laid out in the hotel room and then the dressing room. "He'd have an outfit with matching colours for every day we were away," reveals former Illawarra and then Dragons teammate Trent Barrett.

    I ask McGregor if he's a "control freak".

    "I can be," he says. "I can be a perfectionist. I've certainly tried to put a handle on that. I just went, 'Stuff it it all'. I've got to go and reconnect with the players. So I went and trained with them in the pre-season."

    He'll turn 50 at the end of this year but still looks as fit as he did when he played his final match in 2001. He had surgery on a degenerative neck problem two years ago as well as 14 operations throughout his career. Like many old footballers, if he stops training his body seizes up.

    "When you're the coach you can pick and choose what you want to do with the players," he smiles. "I did most of the running, but none of the contact."

    Soft!

    "Smart!"

    Any spews?

    "A little one. I swallowed one one day. You don't want to show too much hurt. I can see a player who is struggling and I can run with him and give him encouragement along the way. That's connecting. It's not about me doing it, but more about me getting involved and getting to see and feel how much they're hurting and talking them through it."

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    Pedigree: Paul McGregor. Photo: Fairfax Archive


    http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/...-mcgregor-a-better-coach-20170420-gvp8hv.html
     
  14. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    How being arrested for drink driving made Paul McGregor a better coach PART 2
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    McGregor has changed as a coach this season but Barrett remembers the change in him as a player.

    "He had a metamorphosis," Barrett, now Manly coach, laughs. "He used to be a kid who lived in Dapto who wore a flanno, had long hair and smoked and drank like a fish. Then we had the merger with St George, we had Choc [Anthony Mundine] in the team who was a snappy dresser, and he shaved his head and started dressing in better clothes … But he was always an organised player. He always did whatever he put his mind to."

    McGregor describes pressure as a "privilege". When he was being earmarked as the first coach to be sacked following the Charity Shield loss to Souths, we spoke about the pressure he was under and he didn't flinch.

    The reason is where he came from. He played five seasons of first grade for Dapto before joining the Steelers in 1991. In those days, bush footy was a brutal initiation. It hardened players before they reached the big league.

    Now, under-20s players start earning big dollars as teenagers, have their heads filled with misguided encouragement from player managers, and then come into the senior system with a sense of entitlement that baffles the older brigade.

    What's also changed is the player market. The Dragons aren't in the eye of the current storm but they're not far from it with Dugan and Widdop undecided about their futures.

    Of all the jobs McGregor gave away during the off-season, the most important was recruitment and retention and managing the complicated game of Jenga that has become the salary cap.

    That's now the brief of Ian Millward, who was assistant coach to Graham Murray when McGregor was a player. He is now the director of rugby league pathways at the club.

    Despite this, the questions from media about the futures of Dugan and Widdop have not abated.

    It reached a flashpoint at media opportunity earlier his week. It had been called to promote the Anzac Day clash. For 11 minutes, McGregor was peppered about his belief that Dugan is best suited to fullback while Millward has openly said he considers him to be a centre and will be paid accordingly if Dugan re-signs.

    It's an easy kill for reporters. On the surface, it looks like a rift between coach and recruitment man.

    The confusion has come from the club attaching a value to a position. Millward considers Dugan to be a centre, while McGregor will play him wherever he needs him. Right now, it's fullback.

    But let's be brutally honest: Dugan won't care where he plays in the future, as long as he can sign a contract that comes near the dollars the club will pay halfback Ben Hunt when he arrives from the Broncos next year.

    "I don't see him [Dugan] as a centre or fullback but a player," McGregor says. "If he plays right centre, he'll play good football. If he plays fullback, he'll play good football.

    "Nobody agrees on everything. I've know Ian for a very long time and I trust his judgement. He made a statement about Josh and he was referring to Josh playing right centre for Australia. So the value that he's put forward is about what a right centre for Australia gets paid. As a coach, I put a value on what he means to our team."

    He's cast off the role of recruitment manager but that doesn't mean McGregor doesn't talk to Millward about recruitment at all.

    He also had to recently address the noise surrounding Dugan and Widdop, who is being pursued by the Storm and Wests Tigers although the Dragons remain confident of retaining him.

    "I spoke to the leadership group three weeks ago," McGregor says. "I asked them, 'I'm your coach now. What support do you need in and around your contracts?' They all said to stay out of it."

    What about Dugan?


    [​IMG]
    Marquee man: Josh Dugan. Photo: Getty Images

    "I've talked to him once and it was about if he was playing here, I think he's a fullback because he's the best in the club – right now."

    At no stage during our interview does McGregor talk about his own future. He's off contract this year, too, but he has more pressing issues away from footy.

    When he abruptly left this week's media conference, many assumed he was being a cranky coach who no longer wanted to answer questions about recruitment. In truth, he had somewhere more important to be.

    His 79-year-old mum, Jean, had open heart surgery a year ago. Eleven weeks ago, she suffered a stroke.

    "Four weeks later, she had another one," McGregor says. "So she's being treated treated as a palliative care patient because she'll never come home. She's paralysed down one side and hasn't been out of bed for 11 weeks. My sister and I take my father [Frank] every day in rotation to see her.

    "She's talking and, just like Mum always is, she's apologising for the state she's in – for a state she's got no control over."

    Because he got out of Sydney so late on Wednesday, he didn't get back to Wollongong in time to see her. He will see her after Tuesday's Anzac Day match.

    "If we get the result," he says, "you will see a smile on her face. That's enough for me."

    http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/...-mcgregor-a-better-coach-20170420-gvp8hv.html
     
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  15. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    NRL won't register Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran contracts without seeing Bulldogs action plan
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    The NRL won't register the expected contracts of Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran at the Bulldogs until the club outlines how they plan to get under next year's indicative $9.14 million salary cap.

    With Woods and Foran poised to sign lucrative deals to join the Bulldogs in 2018, the NRL is keeping a close eye on the player movement at Belmore given the likelihood they'll have to part ways with several contracted players to accommodate the arrival of the superstar duo.


    [​IMG]
    Moving on? Kieran Foran is expected to sign for the Bulldogs but the contract won't be registered by the NRL until the club proves it will be salary cap compliant in 2018. Photo: Getty Images

    Those contracts, which are yet to be signed by Woods and Foran, won't be registered by the NRL until the Bulldogs meet with the governing body and provide details of their plans to ensure they are salary cap compliant next year.

    It's also understood the NRL will require some indication from the likely departing players that they intend to leave the Bulldogs, not just a verbal commitment from the club.

    It comes after NRL salary cap auditor Richard Gardham sent an email to all 16 club chief executives on Thursday highlighting the ramifications for those clubs that don't heed the NRL's advice regarding next year's still unconfirmed salary cap.

    "Clubs were provided with the indicative 2018 salary cap value on 30 March. At this time, it is the NRL's expectation that this number is used by clubs for planning their 2018 rosters," the NRL email said.

    "Any club that contracts in excess of this number does so with knowledge of the proposed 2018 salary cap as it currently stands and risks contracts not being registered in line with PCR Rule 47.

    "Any club which believes it is likely to exceed the 2018 salary cap based on current agreements should notify the salary cap auditor immediately with a plan to ensure the club is salary cap compliant for the 2018 season. Naturally, the NRL will provide support where appropriate."

    Of the big name off-contract players at the Bulldogs, it appears a certainty that Michael Lichaa and Will Hopoate won't be at the club next season. However, the in-form Josh Reynolds, who a few weeks ago seemed likely to be on the way out of Belmore, now appears to be part of coach Des Hasler's future plans.

    That will likely mean his halves partner, Moses Mbye, will be the big money player shopped around to rival clubs alongside Bulldogs captain James Graham.

    Graham is on a heavily back-ended deal for next season worth close to $1 million, and has attracted plenty of interest from Newcastle, who missed out on the services of Cowboys and Australian prop Matt Scott.

    Rival clubs are also aware the Bulldogs will be desperate to offload talent to comply with the salary cap and will try and use that as leverage when they negotiate how much each club will fork out for players.

    "The offer presented to the RLPA provides for $9.14m in salary cap and allowances for the top 30 players in each club [plus six development list players]," Gardham said in his email. "On a like-for-like basis this is almost 20 per cent more than the equivalent 2017 figure."

    http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/...ing-bulldogs-action-plan-20170421-gvpl82.html
     
  16. ALSGI

    ALSGI Juniors

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    Good story, I've always been a fan of Mary as a player (not so much for Illawarra becuase they seemed to have the wood on Dragons).
    Have bagged him up until a few weeks ago, but I'm starting to like the man more.
    Like he says about Dugan, right now he's our best coach.
    He has already earned my respect for the improvement this year.
    If he can keep the Dragons competative, motivated and handle the idiot press like he did this week he will earn a lot of respect and support.
     
  17. Coffs dragon

    Coffs dragon Juniors

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    Yes I also agree that is a great story behind Mary and the change. Having bagged him all last season I hope he proves us all wrong and delivers. So far I like what I see and hear. He certainly has the best interest of the club and players in his heart. Well done Mary on admitting past errors and changing for the better. Now give those tips to Doust and the Board!!!
     
    dragonssamy61 and ALSGI like this.
  18. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    St George Illawarra Dragons take first steps to extending Paul McGregor's deal
    [​IMG]
    Adam Pengilly

    Dragons directors have taken the first steps towards extending Paul McGregor's tenure as coach after St George Illawarra boss Peter Doust trumpeted his future as a long-term NRL coach on the back of the Red V's stunning revival.
    On the day they locked up in-demand skipper Gareth Widdop for a further four years, Doust on Saturday launched a passionate defence of the club's decision to relieve McGregor of recruiting responsibilities to model their business on AFL and American sporting organisations.

    It has freed up McGregor to mould the Dragons into surprise table-toppers leading into the Anzac Day showdown with the Roosters after a superb early season run that has confounded critics who thought he would be the first coach axed in 2017.

    The Dragons refuse to put a time frame on announcing their coach for next year, but Doust told Fairfax Media "common sense would say we're starting to contemplate" an extension for McGregor.



    "We're all very happy with the way 2017 has been going, but we haven't got a time frame on which we have to apply a decision on this circumstance," Doust said. "It doesn't have to be done by the end of April or the end of May.

    "I don't know that anybody should think we haven't had a commitment to Paul and don't think he has a long-term future as an NRL coach. We've stood by him in that sense as well.

    "The decision is for the board and they'll make that when they think it is appropriate."

    If it wasn't already a fait accompli, victory over the Roosters and fellow high-flyers Melbourne in the next fortnight before the representative round will all but seal McGregor's future, which appeared increasingly bleak last year.

    [​IMG]
    Long term future: Dragons boss Peter Doust has talked up Paul McGregor as the future of the Dragons. Photo: John Veage
    Doust denied the Dragons had erred by taking recruitment responsibilities away from McGregor and handing them to Ian Millward, who will turn his attention to tying down Josh Dugan, despite claiming he is viewed as a long-term centre.

    It has been in contrast to McGregor openly stressing Dugan is the best No.1 in the club.


    [​IMG]
    Four more years: Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop has also signed on for another four years. Photo: Getty Images
    Doust said Dugan was "a marquee player and a priority" for the Dragons despite the seeming gulf between the club's valuation and his management's asking price.

    "I think it's surprising the way some people have reacted [to McGregor's press conference on Wednesday] and their lack of knowledge of what's happening in the modern sporting environment," Doust said.

    "It was one of the areas we could achieve a marked improvement with in 2017. We're happy with the way that separation between recruitment and coaching of the team – I think the players are too – has been going.

    "And we think it's the modern model in how football clubs should operate going forward.

    "Coaches are to be working on the performance of the team. In this hot marketplace we're in at the moment the recruitment manager would be receiving 20-odd calls a day and having to return them.

    "How does a coach, if he's concentrated and focused on his priorities, try to fit that into a day and be allocating the right sorts of priorities in terms of the team and its performance?

    "We can look at [Ian] Millward's accountability as list manager over three to five years being a development club and then we have the coach to manage a roster he has been provided with from one year to the next."

    The Dragons shake-up has also included the front office with Brian Johnston taking over as chairman from 16-year boss Warren Lockwood, who stood down from the role last month.

    Negotiations for WIN to take a 50 per cent stake in the club are continuing.

    "We're very keen to see WIN be a long-term partner in the management and ongoing development of the Dragons," Doust said.

    "Nobody, we don't believe, in the position of stakeholders in the game, such as the [ARL] Commission or NRL, is unhappy with our governance model. We always want to be contemporary and improve."

    Widdop will form a potent scrum-base combination with Broncos halfback Ben Hunt in 2018 after the Englishman agreed to a revised four-year deal.

    It leaves Widdop's former club Melbourne empty-handed in their pursuit of Cooper Cronk's replacement with another halves target Kieran Foran likely to wind up at the Bulldogs.

    "The Dragons have grown more and more since I've arrived," Widdop said. "There's a good environment here and it's a good place to be so I wanted to play my part in that.

    "At this stage of my career it certainly was a big decision for my family. I have three young kids, I'm very settled here in Wollongong and I'm enjoying my time here. So while it was a big decision, I'm happy to be staying."

    http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/...ding-paul-mcgregors-deal-20170421-gvq5tq.html
     
  19. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Nene no stranger to Anzac Day
    Sun 23rd April, 12:00PM
    A A



    The nerves are out the window for St George Illawarra winger Nene Macdonald ahead of the Dragons' traditional Anzac Day clash against the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium, Moore Park on Tuesday.

    Macdonald's final game for the Roosters in 2015 was against the Red V on Anzac Day ashe recalled how nervous he was prior to the huge fixture.

    The Papua New Guinea international also discussed the significance of the Dragons' jersey for Anzac Day in line with the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/04/23/nene_no_stranger_to_.html
     
  20. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Illawarra smash Mounties in ISP grand final rematch
    Mon 24th April, 10:00AM
    A A

    [​IMG]

    Illawarra have continued their winning ways with a 40-18 victory over the Mounties in an Intrust Super Premiership grand final rematch at WIN Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

    Illawarra granted the visitors the first points of the afternoon when fullback Matt Dufty fumbled the ball in-goal which was then grounded by Mounties’ Reubenn Rennie.

    After enduring countless defensive sets on their own line due to ill-discipline, Illawarra shifted momentum back their way when winger Izaac Thompson dove over in the corner after a nice backline shift.

    Mounties hit back when Rennie crossed for his second of the afternoon though Illawarra responded soon after through Taane Milne, who dismissed several defenders to barge over the line.

    The Mounties headed into half-time with a 12-10 lead.

    Illawarra made an early statement in the first set of the second half when barnstorming forward Luciano Leilua burst through defenders to link with a runaway Matt Dufty.

    Thompson soon followed suit when he ran in two second half tries, while Milne also secured his second try of the afternoon.

    Young front-rower Josh Kerr continued to show his worth when he barged over for yet another try for the scarlet and whites.

    Mounties’ Rennie grabbed his hat-trick in the shadows of full-time but a strong team performance saw Illawarra run out 22-point winners.

    Illawarra 40 (Izaac Thompson 3, Taane Milne 2, Matt Dufty, Josh Kerr tries; Shaun Nona 6 goals) defeated Mounties 18 (Reubenn Rennie 3 tries; Isaac John 3 goals) at WIN Stadium, Wollongong. Half-time: Mounties 12-10.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/04/24/illawarra_smash_moun.html
     

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