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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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    Ford signs Dragons development deal
    Thu 30th November, 08:00AM
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    St George Illawarra have announced that 2017 Under-20s Player of the Year Jackson Ford has signed a three-year contract with the Dragons.

    Ford will become a full-time development player for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and has been training with the first grade squad since the start of the pre-season.

    The Gerringong Lions junior has also been guaranteed a place in the Dragons' Top 30 for the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership season.

    Ford's signing means the Dragons have fulfilled the minimum quota allocated for development players ahead of the 2018 season.

    Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways Ian Millward was excited by the 19-year-old back-rower's potential.

    "Jackson is a real project for us. He was selected in our Under-20s this season and while he is raw, he developed extremely well throughout the year," Millward said.

    "The plan is to prepare him for the 2020 season; we'll get him bigger and stronger and hopefully more skilful. Jackson has a great attitude and his work rate is absolutely phenomenal."

    Millward added that the Dragons will be cautious in regards to the remaining development player spots within the squad, with Ford joining fellow Under-20s players Tristan Sailor and Steven Marsters in the full-time squad.

    "Obviously everyone knows that in the NRL you have to have your Top 30 but then you're allowed a minimum of three development players and maximum of six who will be full-time within the top squad," Millward said.

    "We do a lot of work on succession plans at the club and our three current development players are really good investments for our club moving forward.

    "In saying that, we have to be very careful not to lock in the maximum amount of development players for the next two years because that could block a potential pathway for others."

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/11/30/ford_signs_dragons_d.html
     
  2. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Dragons reach 10,000 Red V Members
    Thu 30th November, 12:00PM
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    The St George Illawarra Dragons have announced the signing of their 10,000th Red V Member for the 2018 Telstra Premiership season.

    Taking the honour of being the 10,000th member was Lidija Sapevski, a 13-year member who doesn’t miss a game with her family.

    "Growing up in the St George area, my husband and I have supported the Dragons from a very young age and we both became Red V Members in 2006," Sapevski said.

    "We wouldn't give up our Red V family for anything, and really enjoy attending home and away games.

    "Membership is incredible value for money and with the Anzac Day blockbuster and more games at Kogarah and Wollongong in 2018, there is no better way to spend family time together with the team we love."

    The 2018 Red V Membership program offers a range of flexible and affordable packages offering new and enhanced benefits to our loyal Red V Members.

    Plus there's a chance to win a trip to the UK – renew or join as a Red V Member by December 21, 2017 to be in the running.

    The 2018 season will see the Dragons play five home games at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah and five home games played at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.

    2018 Dragons home game venues announced

    The traditional Anzac Day match against the Roosters at Allianz Stadium, one of the biggest matches on the rugby league calendar, will serve as another Dragons home game.

    Click here to view the 2018 Dragons Draw

    The 2018 Red V Membership program includes improvements based directly on member feedback.

    We have worked closely with your Members Advisory Forum representatives to ensure all feedback has been considered. We have strived to deliver Red V Members with even greater flexibility, increased value and an enhanced loyalty program.

    In 2018, general admission and bronze family memberships are priced to include two children free across all packages, while adult general admission pricing is extremely affordable at less than $200 for the full season or less than $100 for the Kogarah or Wollongong Pass.

    Our new premium upgrade option is a great way to experience additional benefits and is available in most packages.

    Other 2018 Red V Membership highlights include:

    · Anzac Day: secureyourseat for thebiggest eventon the NRL calendar from only $20 in a 2018 membership package

    · Membershipdelivers thebest valueticket pricesevery time: five-game general admission passes only $99 (less than $20 per game)

    · Secure your seatfor all the action at the Red V traditionalvenues in Kogarah and Wollongong

    · Flexible package options:build your own package to suit your needs. The choice is yours

    · Affordability:entry level memberships from $79

    · Red V benefits to your door: pre-Christmas benefit pack delivery

    · Members choice is back in 2018:choose between member cap, beanie or both

    · Flexible payment options: pay by the month from less than $9 per month (adult)**

    · Kids Pack: bigger and better than everincl.member cap, cape flag, drawstring bag, sticker sheet and lanyard

    For further detail, benefits and comparison, visit www.marchwithus.com.au and make the choice that best suits your needs, or simply follow the steps to renew.

    You can also contact our team on 1300 DRAGON or via email to: [email protected]

    Membership is about much more than just a ticket to the game and we invite you to experience all the flexibility and value that being a Red V Member provides.

    There is no better way to show your true colours and support your team, and there is a package to suit everyone.

    Red V Membership investment also goes directly towards supporting our on-field endeavours and is greatly appreciated by the football staff and players.

    "All the players certainly acknowledge and appreciate the support that we get from our Red V Members," Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop said.

    "Members are a big part of our team and there is nothing better than running out in front of a big crowd full of red and white.

    "We are already looking forward to 2018 and we will be back bigger and better than ever."

    Belong, connect and commit by becoming a Red V Member in 2018!

    ** Monthly payment plan – a $5 account set up fee will be deducted with the first instalment and an account transaction fee of three per cent per transaction will be deducted with each instalment.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/11/30/dragons_reach_10_000.af_news.html
     
  3. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Unfinished business for Dragons recruit Allgood
    Dragons Den
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    NEW START: Former Parramatta prop Mitch Allgood believes he has plenty more to offer the NRL with the Dragons after spending the past three seasons in the UK Super League. Picture: Robert Peet

    THREE years is a long time in rugby league, but new Dragons bookend Mitch Allgood is confident he still has plenty to offer in the NRL.

    The former Parramatta enforcer played 70 games for the Eels after debuting in 2011, before taking up a three-year deal with Super League club Hull Kingston Rovers.

    He turned out for Wakefield Trinity this year following Hull’s relegation before the Dragons threw him an NRL lifeline via one-year deal.

    Still only 28, Allgood said he always planned to return to Australia to see to some unfinished business.

    “After I’d been over there for that first season, you’re watching teams back here play you do miss it,” Allgood said.

    “At the time it was a good opportunity, a three-year deal, a new start and something that took me completely out of my comfort zone.

    “As a person, being away, I think I grew up a lot and I think that’s helped me in becoming a better player.

    “I’m glad I did it but I’m also glad I’ve come back. To get the opportunity to come back with the Dragons and challenge myself again is something I’m grateful to have.

    With partner Madeline hailing from Nowra, Allgood said the Dragons provided the “ideal” opportunity to reboot his career.

    ”It’s completely different circumstances for preseason being right by the beach in the sun but I’m really enjoying it,” he said.

    “As far as location goes, this is exactly where we want to be. My partner’s from Nowra so this is absolutely perfect. Our little boy Peter’s almost two.

    “He was born over there and we had some fun going to some great places with him but to be back with that family around is really enjoyable.

    “From a club point of view, the roster, the staff the facilities were all very attractive. They had a really successful year last year despite falling short of the finals so to be a part of that moving forward is very exciting.”

    Allgood joins fellow recruits James Graham and Jeremy Latimore at the club, as coach Paul McGregor looks to bolster his middle stocks following the departure of Russell Packer.

    It will put spots up front at a premium but Allgood said he’s embracing the challenge of forcing his way into the 17.

    “It’s one of the biggest strengths we have at this club, it’s a great forward pack,” Allgood said.

    “Looking at the stats from last season, the forwards were outstanding so working with these guys… I’m only going to be better for it.

    “I think every player wants to be in that 17 but right now we’re in preseason and the harder you work each day the better opportunity you’ll have to be in that 17.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5090992/all-good-for-dragons-prop/?cs=3713
     
  4. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Wonderful Widdop stars again
    Corey Rosser - NRL.com New Zealand Correspondent

    Fri 1st December, 09:00AM
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    The move of Gareth Widdop to fullback continues to prove a masterstroke, with the St George Illawarra Dragons star a standout for England in last weekend's 20-18 semi-final victory over Tonga.

    Better known as a five-eighth, Widdop's return to his former position has been one of the major positives for coach Wayne Bennett's side so far and in Auckland he laid on two of England's tries against Tonga and scored the other, causing constant issues with his evasive running.

    The 28-year-old now shapes as a key figure ahead of meeting Australia in the Rugby League World Cup final on Saturday, where he is likely to line up opposite Billy Slater in the No.1 jersey.

    "It's been good, I'm just happy to be part of the team and play my role wherever Wayne wants to put me. I haven't been back at fullback for six or seven years now, but I am really enjoying it," Widdop said.

    "If Wayne goes that way again, it's funny how it all works out, I did my apprenticeship at Melbourne under Bill as a fullback in my junior career.

    "He is a great player and I learned a lot from him. He is one of the best fullbacks to ever play the game, so you'd be silly not to listen to him.

    "He is great for young kids and I certainly got a lot from him in Melbourne."

    ‌After polling third overall in this year's Dally M Awards while playing at five-eighth, Widdop has emerged as England's best fullback option, moving past Jonny Lomax and Stefan Ratchford who started the first two games of the tournament in the position.

    Since officially becoming the starting fullback Widdop has set up six tries in three games and averages over 100 running metres, with teammate James Roby quick to praise him following England booking their first World Cup final spot since 1995.

    "He is showing his class in the fact that he can play two positions so well," Roby said.

    "Over here everyone sees him as a halfback, which he is more than capable of, but I think Gareth at fullback almost gives us another halfback on the field.

    "He can link up and put on plays and he is also a threat running at fullback. It probably has allowed him to show a bit more of his skill.

    "I thought he was great for us, he came up with the ball at some key moments and there was some dangerous stuff he had to clean up, with a lot of pressure on him and the big Tongan lads coming through trying to belt him.

    "He made a couple of breaks early doors and was a real livewire."


    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/12/01/wonderful_widdop_sta.html
     
  5. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Ambassador Bremner confirms broken fibula
    Jack Brady

    Fri 1st December, 11:00AM
    A A

    Competition - International Rugby League - Downer Test Match. Round - May Representative Round. Teams - Australian Jillaroos Vs Kiwi Ferns. Date - 6th of May 2016. Venue - Hunter Stadium, Newcastle. Photographer - Robb Cox.

    Jillaroos fullback and St George Illawarra Ambassador Sam Bremner has confirmed a broken fibula as the reason why she hasn't featured at the 2017 Woman's Rugby League World Cup.

    Ahead of the tournament final against the Kiwi Ferns at Suncorp Stadium this weekend, Bremner took to social media on Friday morning to confirm the unfortunate news.

    "Feeling so grateful to have spent four whole weeks with this lot, thank you to everyone at home for the kind messages and phone calls the past three weeks, not a day has gone by without someone checking to see how I was," Bremner said on Instagram.

    "I've unfortunately fractured my fibula in training but the good news is everything is still perfectly healthy with my voice box so I'll be cheering the house down tomorrow afternoon for our Jillaroos as they take out the 2017 World Cup.

    "Even though this is not how I visioned (sic) my World Cup experience to be, I really wouldn't want to change my journey for anyone else's.

    "I have learnt so much more about myself and what my body and mind is capable of - which makes me proud… and better yet, I have learnt about the kind souls I have surrounded myself with.

    "I couldn't have a better group of family and friends if I tried. Within this deep disappointment, I still count myself the luckiest girl alive."

    The Jillaroos' World Cup campaign will culminate on Saturday afternoon at 4:45pm (AEDT) where fellow Dragons Ambassador Kezie Apps is expected to line up in the back row.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/12/01/ambassador_bremner_c.af_news.html
     
  6. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    2018 Red V Member packs are en route
    Fri 1st December, 02:00PM
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    The fulfilment of St George Illawarra Dragons' Red V Member Packs for the 2018 season has commenced with the first batch of packs been lodged with Australia Post this week.

    Members who pay for their membership by December 1 will have their member packs delivered to their door in time for Christmas. Please note if you order after this date then you can download a gift certificate to put under the Christmas tree.

    Once you have signed up, keep an eye out for an email from the club which will provide you with a tracking number regarding your lodged pack.

    The Dragons also now include postage of your member's choice item with your core pack and member card, so you don’t need to pick anything else up.

    If you have any questions regarding your 2018 membership please contact us via:

    - The FAQs at www.marchwithus.com.au

    - Live chat at www.marchwithus.com.au (during business hours)

    - Email at [email protected]

    - Phone on 1300 DRAGONS (1300 372 466) (during business hours)

    If you haven't yet committed for 2018, now is the perfect time to do so and beat the last minute rush prior to the start of the season. Click here to log on and sign up.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/12/01/_2018_red_v_member_p.af_news.html
     
  7. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    McInnes keen to stay a Dragon
    Dragons Den
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    Cameron McInnes wants to remain a Dragon. Picture: Adam McLean
    ST GEORGE Illawarra rake Cameron McInnes says he has no desire to leave the Dragons after the club put its faith in him as an 80-minute man last season.

    The South Sydney junior transformed himself from understudy to the likes of Isaac Luke and Nathan Peats at the Rabbitohs to the Dragons ironman, barely missing a minute of his side’s 2017 campaign and thrusting himself into the NSW selection mix.

    Off-contract in 2018, he’s sure to attract some attention from rivals, including his former club, but the 24-year-old wants to remain in Wollongong beyond next season.

    “It’s only early days but I want to stay here,” McInnes said.

    “We’ve had some early discussions and I'll look to get it sorted whenever it happens but this is the club for me. I’m not going to be looking to go anywhere else.

    “I love this club for giving me that chance and just the whole environment...I couldn’t be happier so I definitely want to get it done whenever it’s time to do it.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5094506/mcinnes-keen-to-stay-a-dragon/?cs=3713
     
    Old Kogarah Boy 1 likes this.
  8. emu62

    emu62 Juniors

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    All the best for your grandfather JDHD, I had jaundice earlier this year, not pleasant but for me it was a godsend as it led to a early detection of cancer . As you get older you realise family is everything, So i hope all will be ok with your grand father
     
  9. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Jillaroos win tough World Cup final
    Sun 3rd December, 09:00AM
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    By Andrew Marmont‌, Melbourne Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

    The Australian Jillaroos have won their second consecutive World Cup with a gritty 23-16 win over the Kiwi Ferns at Brisbane Stadium on Saturday.

    In a contest that traded leads throughout the whole match, Australia sealed the win with a 79th-minute field goal to halfback Caitlin Moran, after scoring four tries to three.

    The Kiwis dominated the opening stanza - completing at more than 90 per cent throughout the first half - but Australia opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Isabelle Kelly, who found space down the left edge.

    New Zealand leveled four minutes later with a try in the corner through Honey Hireme.

    Hireme added her second when crashing over in the 20th minute off a scrum move as the Ferms edged ahead 10-6.

    Australia found a way back through a dancing run by halfback Moran, who weaved her way through four defenders for a crucial try just on half-time to take the lead.

    The two sides traded line breaks and solid defence in the early stages of the second half, but the Jillaroos found a way to break the deadlock as the Ferns' discipline started to waver.

    Five-eighth Ali Brigginshaw's grubber kick got a deflection and sat up perfectly for Kelly, who zigzagged her way past Ferns fullback Apii Nicholls-Pualau in the 54th minute to create a six-point buffer.

    The Australians went further ahead three minutes later as Elianna Walton crashed her way past New Zealand second-rower Hilda Peters beside the uprights for a 22-10 lead with 20 minutes to go.

    Krystal Murray busted the Australian defence open and her offload to Raecene McGregor narrowed the gap to set up an exciting finish.

    The Kiwis went close again soon afterwards but Shontelle Woodman knocked on under multiple Jillaroos defenders, with Moran icing the victory with a cool field goal just before the final siren.

    Australian Jillaroos 23 (Kelly 2, Moran, Walton tries; Moran 3 goals, field goal) defeated New Zealand Kiwi Ferns 16 (Hireme 2, McGregor tries; Nati goals). Half-time: 12-10.

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/12/03/jillaroos_win_tough_.html
     
    Drag Queen likes this.
  10. Old Kogarah Boy 1

    Old Kogarah Boy 1 Juniors

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    Reading the headline, l thought the club was getting new cars for one and all but reading further, l see we have another young gun to nurture.

    Does he come with a 5 year, unlimited kilometre warranty and free roadside assist?
     
  11. Drag Queen

    Drag Queen Juniors

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    For the few who bothered to watch this, it was a great game.
     
    mbk78, dragonssamy61 and getsmarty like this.
  12. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Ghosts of 2017 fade linger for Dragons ironman
    Dragons Den
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    HEARTBREAKER: Jack De Belin wrestles with Canterbury's Josh Jackson in the Dragons season-ending round 26 loss to the Bulldogs. Picture: AAP

    ST GEORGE Illawarra workhorse Jack de Belin hasn’t forgotten his side’s ignominious exit from last year’s finals race – and he hopes his Dragons teammates haven’t either.

    Early-season pace-setters, a finals berth looked in the Dragons keeping at the midway point of 2017, only for their grip on the top eight to slip via an indifferent run home.

    A finals spot was still there for the taking in round 26, where a victory over the 12th-placed Bulldogs would have guaranteed their passage to post-season.

    History shows they led 18-14 midway through the second half only to surrender two late tries and go out of 2017 with a whimper.

    The loss gifted eventual grand finalists North Queensland a finals reprieve that took them to within one win of the premiership.

    One of the Dragons top performers throughout the season, de Belin said the loss still burns in the heat of preseason.

    “Straight after that game I was heartbroken, it probably stayed with me for a couple of weeks there,” de Belin said.

    “We had so much more to play for than the Bulldogs did. They were already getting ready for their mad Monday. We had so much to play for, we had a guaranteed finals spot if we’d won, and it just came down to us not wanting it enough in the end.

    “I feel like when we were on we could beat anyone. We showed that at the start of the year, we were written off early and we really came out firing and put some teams in their place.

    “Towards the midway point and the back end of the season we never really got back into our groove. We just couldn’t string consistent performances together and it hurt us.

    “I was pretty disappointed and I hope all the other boys have the same feeling because we're ripping into the preseason and it should be in the back of our minds going into next year not to let that happen again.

    “You can’t hold onto something like that for too long but hopefully it does add a bit of fuel to the fire.”

    The late-season fade saw the club go without finals action for the fifth time in six years with the club’s only finals appearance another loss to the Bulldogs in golden point in 2015.

    For de Belin it remains the lone post-season appearance in his 129-game career and, while he’ll again be looking to press his NSW selection claims, the 26-year-old said turning the clubs finals tide is the main driver in 2018.

    “There’s no reason I can’t be playing for the Blues and Australia, they’re my big individual goals, but first and foremost is the Dragons and getting us back to the play-offs,” de Belin said.

    “This will be my eighth year of first grade and I’ve only ever played one finals game. No player should be comfortable with that. I came in at the back end of Wayne Bennett’s time and saw the real winning culture we had there.

    “We lost our way a little bit there but I feel like we’re building our way back to that now and hopefully we can become a powerhouse and build a little dynasty for the years to come.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5093130/dog-day-afternoon-still-haunts-de-belin/?cs=3713
     
  13. Dennis Papaioannou

    Dennis Papaioannou Juniors

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    JDB shows a refreshing honesty that I for one appreciate very much.
    What he describes is what the fans have had to endure - especially in the second half of the 2017 season.
    The game against Canterbury sums up a malaise that is deep seeded in our club and was perpetrated by a refusal by the board to appoint a qualified coach. Unforgivable!
    It's players like JDB that deserve a much better coaching regime than the Rubbish McGregor continues to serve up.
    The guy has aspirations of playing representative football and he, along with a number of other players and young up and comers, NEED a competent coach and mentor.
    His reference to Wayne Bennett's time at the club is particularly revealing.
    Then he refers to the future with the word "hopefully".
    Says is all really...
     
  14. JDHD

    JDHD Juniors

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    JDB is a guy who I listen to about the team's performances and think "man, this guy f**king gets it". His post-season interview was gutting, he was absolutely shattered and it was over a month after the season has ended.
     
  15. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    St George Illawarra Dragons youngster Hame Sele inspired to follow in the foot steps of Tyson Frizell
    • Local Sport
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      Up and coming: Dragons junior Hame Sele made his NRL debut last season and is looking for a big 2018. Picture: John Veage
      When Tyson Frizell runs out for Dragons training there is a pair of hungry young eyes fixed on him, eager to learn from one of the elite forwards in the NRL.

      In the weights room, completing skills work, running drills. One young Dragons forward routinely makes the most of training with Frizell every day.

      The Kangaroos star is a hero to Hame Sele. Since Sele started training with Paul McGregor’s senior squad he has made the most of his opportunity. What he has learnt is what Sele hopes will give his career a head start.

      The Dragons returned to training last month ahead of the 2018 campaign looking to build on a rollercoaster season. While they were the form team of the competition and sat on top of the NRL table after seven rounds, St George Illawarra’s season imploded as they limped home to narrowly miss the finals.

      Frizell is yet to return to Dragons training with his 2017 season only ending on Saturday night after helping Australia lift the World Cup. But Sele, who is enduring his third first grade pre-season, told the Leader he couldn’t wait for Frizell’s return.

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      Hame Sele training at Wollongong last season. Picture: Sylvia Liber

      “It’s just inspirational, watching him train. He’s just a beast,” Sele said.

      “Every week he just trains really hard even when he’s got little niggles. He’ll just work his way around that and put his best foot forward.

      It’s just inspirational, watching him train. He’s just a beast.

      Hame Sele on Tyson Frizell
      “He gives me tips each week. I talk to him what I can improve on. I always go to him. He just helps me calm down a bit and stay relaxed.”

      Sele, 21, made his NRL debut last season as the Dragons thrashed Manly at Brookvale Oval. The Kingsgrove Colts and St George Dragons junior, born at Kogarah, made 15 appearances in the red V from the bench in 2017 and even made his representative debut after being called up to play for City.

      That experience has given him a taste for more. While the Dragons have lost Russell Packer, Josh Dugan and Taane Milne, they have signed top quality recruits in Ben Hunt and James Graham.

      Sele’s goals are simple for next season – to play more minutes and to keep learning.

      “[I want to keep] learning off the experienced players like Jack de Belin, Leeson Ah Mau, Paul Vaughan, Tyson Frizell. All those boys are really good at helping us young boys improve ourselves in getting better each week,” he said.

      “Our new signings will help our team improve next year. Ben Hunt, James Graham... hopefully we can get in that top four.”

    • http://www.theleader.com.au/story/5095286/sele-keen-to-follow-in-frizells-footsteps/?cs=1633
     
    dragonssamy61 likes this.
  16. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Tough finish driving Host
    Tue 5th December, 09:30AM
    A A



    By Chris Kennedy - NRL.com National Correspondent

    St George Illawarra Dragons forward Jacob Host says a tough finish to 2017 is driving his team through a gruelling off-season and will provide plenty of motivation throughout their Telstra Premiership campaign.

    Host is determined to find a spot in Paul McGregor's 17 for the opening round despite heavy competition in a star-studded pack.

    The 21-year-old rising star is thrilled to get a chance to play and train alongside Canterbury and England legend James Graham – who will join his new teammates in the new year – even though his arrival plus the addition of Sharks veteran Jeremy Latimore and ex-Eels prop Mitch Allgood from Wakefield will ensure intense competition for forward spots at the Dragons.

    "[That competition] definitely puts us in good stead if there are any injuries or any players go on to play rep honours throughout the year," Host told NRL.com.

    "It will definitely make sure our performances stay consistent throughout with a strong pack.

    "It's good for depth and it's good for competition as well because you've got players that obviously want to be playing first grade each week so they're going to be trying to put their best foot forward whether they're coming off the bench, starting or playing reserve grade."

    Graham, in particular, could be huge for Host's development as an up-and-coming NRL middle forward.

    "He's been massive for England in the World Cup – he put in a massive effort against Tonga [in the semi-final]," Host said.

    "He seems to be everywhere on the park – everywhere he shouldn't be! It's going to be interesting to see what he's like around training and to try and get [an idea of] the little things he does away from footy as well to try and make myself better. Everyone knows it's the little one-percenters that make a big difference."

    The Dragons have signed three seasoned props and lost just one (Russell Packer to the Wests Tigers), but Host is hopeful he can fend off the challenge to snare an NRL berth.

    "[I'm going] to push myself to the absolute physical limit and try and set myself up for the best start to the season; my goal is to be playing Round 1," Host said.

    "I'm happy to be playing anywhere as long as I'm in the team but definitely [targeting] more consistency this year and to cement my spot in the team is something I'm trying to do."

    Host played 11 top-grade games in 2017, following eight in his debut season in 2016.

    He wasn't in the NRL team for the final month of 2017 through a combination of form and minor injury niggles.

    St George Illawarra lost four of their last six games – including the final-round upset to a Bulldogs team with little to play for – to tumble out of the top eight.

    "It has been stuck in the back of the head, it was a disappointing way to finish the season," Host said.

    "But the boys are definitely going to be using that as motivation when round one comes around. We also have some new players coming in that are definitely going to make a big impact on the squad and everyone wants to start the season well. It will be part motivation but everyone wants to strive for greatness."

    http://www.dragons.com.au/news/2017/12/05/tough_finish_driving.html
     
  17. getsmarty

    getsmarty First Grade

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    Ben Hunt keen to rip into pre-season with Dragons as hope for representative jersey rises
    Kangaroos
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Ben Hunt at Queensland training this year.Source: Getty Images
    BEN Hunt is ready to leap at the opportunity to take Cooper Cronk’s representative jerseys, hoping that a fresh start with the Dragons in 2018 will strengthen his claims to take the Queensland and Kangaroos No.7 jersey.

    Hunt played just one half of football off the bench for the Kangaroos this World Cup, spending the majority of the last seven weeks serving an apprenticeship in green and gold.

    His shadow role has given him front row seats to the clinical preparation Cronk puts into every game he plays, with the retirement of the champion halfback giving him extra motivation for a big first season in the Red V.


    [​IMG]
    Cronk hangs up rep boots

    2:27
    “He’s obviously one of the hardest working players, from being in this camp and watching how much training he does, he trains non-stop and works hard on the little things in the game and he tries to be perfect at everything he does,” Hunt told foxsports.com.au minutes after Cronk announced his retirement on Saturday night.

    “That’s one of the biggest things he’s got, he just works really hard at what he needs to work on.

    “I’ve been excited all year to get down to the Dragons and start my career down there and I honestly can’t wait after this.

    “It’s been a great tour but at the same time I’m pretty fresh coming out of it, I haven’t played a whole lot of footy and I’ve been training hard but your body’s not taking all those blows and stuff like that, so I’m just looking forward to getting down there and starting pre-season and getting in.”



    [​IMG]
    Cronk honoured for rep career

    0:43
    It’s the end of a rollercoaster season for Hunt, who was selected on the bench for Queensland’s Origin III side, then made Australia’s 24-man World Cup squad after being dropped to Queensland Cup for a patchy run of form for the Broncos early in the season.

    His 2017 was turned around by a return to first grade at hooker, where he played some outstanding games that threw him into the conversation for representative utility roles.

    While he may have played his best football this season at hooker, Hunt will relish a return to the No.7 jersey at St George Illawarra where he will combine with Gareth Widdop in a halves partnership that has elite potential.

    And it’s at halfback where Hunt would love to make his mark for Queensland and Australia, with a big start to 2018 key to his hopes at getting first crack.

    “It’s definitely a big opportunity there but at the same time there’s a lot of competition there as well now,” Hunt said.

    [​IMG]
    Ben Hunt at Kangaroos training.Source: AAP
    “Michael Morgan’s shown he’s a really good halfback, Daly Cherry-Evans is a great halfback, Cameron Munster played five-eighth this year and he had a great season too.

    “So there’s some healthy competition still for those spots.”

    That’s for Kevin Walters to work through between now and early June and Hunt concedes that if he does get the nod, he’ll have a whopping hope to fill now that Cronk and Johnathan Thurston have confirmed they won’t be part of the team.

    “It’s been 10, 11, 12 years now, them being a part of it and them being very dominant through those years,” Hunt said.

    “Like you said there’s a big void there and if any of us boys are the ones to fill it, it’s going to be big shoes to fill and it’s going to be tough.”

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/ka...s/news-story/795b56ba5e1289ce1f12c58a1b830bda
     
  18. silverex

    silverex Bench

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    5 reasons to be excited about the Dragons in NRL season 2018
    Nick Campton, The Daily Telegraph
    December 5, 2017 10:00am

    THE horrid ending to their season in 2017 soured what was, on the whole, a good season for the Dragons.

    The Red V might have missed the finals for the second season in a row but they’re a team on the up. With James Graham and Ben Hunt joining the club, hopes are justifiably high for 2018.

    Here’s five reasons Dragons fans should be keen as mustard for next season.

    Hunt
    The Dragons have struggled to find the right halves partner for Gareth Widdop in his four years with the club. A host of players have been tried and discarded, like Sam Williams, Michael Witt, Benji Marshall, Josh McCrone, Adam Quinlan, Kurt Mann and on one memorable occasion Jack de Belin.

    With due respect, Ben Hunt is the best halves partner Gareth Widdop has had since he left the Storm and he’s the best spine player the Dragons have signed since they captured Widdop.

    [​IMG]
    Ben Hunt will take a break after the RLWC before joining the Dragons.
    The Red V might have paid a pretty penny to secure the Broncos halfback, but he’s the perfect halves partner for Widdop. The Englishman has had some great periods for the Dragons, most notably at the beginning of last season and his skill set lines up well with Hunt’s. Freed of the responsibility of directing a team around the park, Hunt will be able to focus on what he does best — running the ball. Taking pressure off of Widdop could unleash a whole new side to the skipper and will form the crux of the Dragons finals charge.

    Graham
    As much as Hunt rounds out the Dragons backline, James Graham does the same for the forward pack.

    With Joel Thompson, Jack de Belin, Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims and Paul Vaughan, the Dragons already had one of the most capable packs in the competition. Add in James Graham, who is already fired up cause that’s he’s default setting but will somehow be more fired up after being let go by the Bulldogs, and that’s a top class set of forwards. In order for the Dragons to get the most of the Englishman, here’s hoping they embrace his ball-playing skills rather than suppress them, as Des Hasler did over the last two seasons.

    [​IMG]
    James Graham will bring some much-needed fire to the Dragons pack.
    Take away his passing and Graham is a battering ram, still effective, but limited. Allow him to embrace his full talents and he’s one of the best props in the world, a hard-nosed runner who can open things up for his fellow forwards and help solidify his team’s attacking structures. It is no coincidence that Graham has enjoyed a great World Cup thus far after being let off the leash by Wayne Bennett. The former Bulldog is an inspired pick-up for the Dragons and our early tip for buy of the year.

    So close to finals
    The best thing about the Dragons in 2017 was how close they came to the finals. This was also the worst thing about the Dragons in 2017.

    After seven rounds they were top of the ladder but they never really recovered from Gareth Widdop’s injury during the golden point Anzac Day lost to the Roosters. Even so, all they needed to do to make the eight was beat the Bulldogs in the final round and they collapsed 26-20.

    The Dragons were caught between the mess of teams who traded places from 7th to 12th all through the season. With the addition of Graham and Hunt they have the most scope to improve of any team in that region. A top four berth is not beyond their talents.

    Dufty
    Matt Dufty didn’t make his NRL debut until Round 20 but he was an instant hit, setting up two tries and scoring one of his own in a big win over Manly. The Penshurst junior may be a bantamweight compared to the outgoing Josh Dugan — at 80 kilograms he’s one of the lightest players in the league — and while he may suffer on kick returns he’s an exceptional support player who combines well with Widdop.

    [​IMG]
    Matt Dufty could be a revelation at fullback. Picture: Brett Costello
    Given the Dragons heavy emphasis on offloads, mainly through the likes of Nene Macdonald and Tim Lafai, a buzzing, probing player like Dufty will arguably suit their playing style more than Dugan. With a proper pre-season Dufty should be able to pack on at least a little more muscle and Dragons fans should be excited about seeing a full season from the 21-year old.

    This team can be elite
    The Dragons had the third highest points differential in the league despite finishing ninth. They had the fourth best attack and the sixth best defence. This was a team who had the pedigree and the ability to surge into the finals and by adding Graham and Hunt they’ve upgraded in two key positions.

    [​IMG]
    Big signings mean a big year for the Dragons in 2018.
    They also have a strong, robust centre pairing in Euan Aitken and Tim Lafai, and extremely solid wingers in Jason Nightingale and Nene Macdonald. Built outwards from their excellent forward pack, this is a team who can contend from the jump in 2018 and should have their sights set on a top four spot.

    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s...8/news-story/8bf7821f6f4a7c8c2ebf6481dc3c832b
     
    Crush, st shaneoh, Gareth67 and 3 others like this.
  19. This Year?

    This Year? Bench

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    How do i unlike that telegraph bullshit?
     
  20. Dennis Papaioannou

    Dennis Papaioannou Juniors

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    So last year the Pundits were touting us as wooden spoon candidates which was spin perpetrated by the club so that 9th would look credible and McGregor's appointment rationalized to the disbelieving fans.
    This year, with the advent of Hunt and Graham, we are suddenly top four material and a club bristling with elite potential.
    Only problem with all that is we have the same coaching regime in charge which has a stinky track record and a total embarrassment.
    I think all fans crave success for our great club but being subjected to this kind of spin doctoring is wearing thin.
    Especially when you consider that there still has not been any accountability and review of 2017.
    This article is there to help the Board sweep everything under the carpet and distract the fans with hype and a positive outlook on 2018.
     
    This Year? and Dragonslayer like this.

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