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

  1. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Your club's experience factor for 2018
    Author
    Alicia Newton
    Timestamp
    Mon 29 Jan 2018, 11:13 AM


    Tigers settled without off-field dramas

    The Wests Tigers and Newcastle Knights are the big improvers in the experience department for 2018, while the 14 other clubs head into the new season having lost more than they've gained.

    After Ivan Cleary's team finished 14th and the Knights 16th on the 2017 Telstra Premiership ladder, it is no surprise the NRL's most active clubs in the player market have boosted their rosters with a wealth of game-day knowledge.

    According to NRL.com Stats, the Tigers fielded last season's second youngest squad – falling behind finalists Penrith (average age 24.1) with an average of 24.4.

    Newcastle and the Gold Coast Titans closely followed, providing three of the bottom four sides from last season.

    The departures of Aaron Woods, James Tedesco and retirement of Matt Ballin left Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary chasing experience – a task he made look easy with Josh Reynolds, Russell Packer and Ben Matulino all coming on board.

    "I think we were definitely too young the last couple of years," Wests Tigers back-rower Chris Lawrence said.

    "It's great to have young kids and outstanding talent, but you need a balance. As a young guy, it's hard to hang in games and you do get inconsistent performances. If you have too many in your side you are inconsistent and that's how we've been the last few years.

    "The NRL is such a tough competition … to be consistent in 24 rounds you need a balance of experienced players.

    "There's going to be games where things aren't going well and games are going against you. Having experienced guys in the team [is where] you learn how to hang on in games.

    [​IMG]
    "If you're in a game with 10 minutes to go, that's where your young and exciting guys are your match winners."

    After struggling over the past three seasons with an inexperienced squad, the Knights are set for a 44-game increase per player.

    The Novocastrians averaged 60 games per player in 2017 – the fewest of any side – but the addition of Mitchell Pearce, Jacob Lillyman, Aidan Guerra and Chris Heighington immediately lifts the club and offers coach Nathan Brown some much-needed experience to go with the largely unproven squad he had at his disposal over the previous two years.

    On the other end of the spectrum, the Brisbane Broncos and Cronulla Sharks will enter the year having lost more than 750 games of NRL manpower over the off-season.

    The Broncos have taken the biggest hit and are set to undergo a changing of the guard following the departure of Adam Blair (Warriors), Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers) and Ben Hunt (Dragons).

    Their highest-profile recruit for 2018, Jack Bird, slightly eases the blow, but Wayne Bennett's men have still lost a large amount of experience without much in return.

    [​IMG]
    Cronulla aren't far behind the Broncos when it comes to shedding playing experience, losing 646 games on the back of the departures of Heighington and Penrith-bound James Maloney.

    With an average age of 27 in 2017 – the oldest side in the competition – it is no secret coach Shane Flanagan was desperate to add youth to his squad.

    Worryingly, the Titans remain in the bottom five when it comes to experience after losing club stalwart Will Zillman and the disgruntled Jarryd Hayne.

    Manly's discrepancy could have been worse given the club had already lost veterans Brett Stewart and Steve Matai before a ball was kicked in 2017.

    Neither Stewart or Matai were included in the totals, along with Ballin, Isaac De Gois (Parramatta) and Rory Kostjaysn (Newcastle), who were all forced into retirement prior to the start of last season.

    Melbourne are without 300-game halfback Cooper Cronk, but the premiers gain an experienced campaigner with the return of veteran Ryan Hoffman. Former Bulldogs prop Sam Kasiano (139 games) replaces Tohu Harris (117) and Jordan McLean (86).

    [​IMG]
    The Sydney Roosters have gained Cronk's wealth of knowledge after losing Pearce, Guerra, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Michael Gordon (225 games) in the past 12 months.

    Canterbury welcome the additions of Woods and Kieran Foran to Belmore but have said farewell to seasoned regulars Kasiano, James Graham and Josh Reynolds.

    The Bulldogs don't lose too much experience with the change of personnel but go into the season with a rookie NRL coach in Dean Pay.

    Canberra, Penrith and South Sydney will head into the 2018 season with similar averages having not lost many experienced players.

    The Bunnies will be without Bryson Goodwin out wide but struck gold with the addition of Dane Gagai, while Maloney (203 games) almost offsets the loss of Matt Moylan (89 games) and Mitch Rein (137 games).

    North Queensland had minimal changes over the off-season but welcomed McLean to the squad. Arguably their biggest loss, Kalyn Ponga, only has nine games to his name.

    Parramatta have lost 256-gamer Frank Pritchard to retirement but gained Hayne, who is set for his 200th NRL appearance in the opening round of the season.

    The inclusions of Tony Williams and Kane Evans have the Eels well-placed in terms of their 97-game per player average in 2017.

    The Warriors have lost a series of campaigners in Lillyman, Hoffman, Foran and Matulino, but don't lose out too much with Blair, Harris, Blake Green and Gerard Beale coming on board.

    St George Illawarra underwent a big cleanout while only recruiting a handful of players. Their quality over quantity approach is set to lower their squad experience average, but not by a huge margin.

    They lose out by 435 games but are arguably in with their best shot of finals football in years having recruited Graham and Hunt to line up in the Red V.

    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/01/29/your-NRL-clubs-experience-factor-for-2018/
     
  2. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL 2018: Pre-season, trial dates, venues and all you need to know


    [​IMG]© Provided by Sportal com au

    It's that time of year when NRL premierships are built.


    The NRL pre-season is the period when coaches and players work on building fitnesss, creating combinations and practicing match-winning plays.

    Then it's time to test out if the hard work has payed off, beginning with the NRL trials.

    A bumper three-week schedule has been announced by the NRL ahead of the kick-off to the premiership season.

    SCHEDULE
    Week one trials
    7 February – Storm v Knights at AAMI Park (3pm local)

    8 February – Eels v North Sydney at Ringrose Park (7pm local)

    10 February – Broncos v Central Capras at Theodore (6pm local)

    Super League: 10 February – Wigan v Hull FC at WIN Stadium, (7.45pm local)

    Week two trials
    16 February – Storm v Leeds Rhinos at AAMI Park (8pm local)

    17 February – Panthers v Roosters at Panthers Stadium (7.10pm local)

    17 February – Bulldogs v Raiders at Sunshine Coast (5pm local)

    17 February – Broncos v Titans at Toowoomba (7pm local)

    17 February – Sharks v Sea Eagles at Southern Cross Stadium (7.30pm local)

    17 February – Cowboys v Wests Tigers at Barlow Park Cairns (7.30pm local)

    17 February – Warriors v Storm at Rotorua Stadium (3pm local)

    17 February – Dragons v Hull at ANZ Stadium (5.30pm local)

    17 February – Rabbitohs v Wigan at ANZ Stadium (7.40pm local)

    Week three trials
    23 February – Storm v Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium (7pm local)

    24 February – Bulldogs v Panthers at Belmore Oval (6.30pm local)

    24 February – PNG Hunters v Broncos at Port Moresby (3pm local)

    24 February – Wests Tigers v Sharks at Campbelltown Stadium (7pm locall)

    24 February – Sea Eagles v Roosters at Central Coast Stadium (6.30pm local)

    24 February – Titans v Warriors at Sunshine Coast (5pm local)

    24 February – Knights v Eels at Maitland No.1 Showground (7pm local)

    24 February – Broncos v Wynnum Manly at Kougari Oval (7pm local)

    24 February – Rabbitohs v Dragons at Mudgee (7.30pm local)

    MAIN GAMES
    10 February – Wigan v Hull FC at WIN Stadium - First Super League match played in Australia.

    16 February – Storm v Leeds Rhinos at AAMI Park - First World Club Challenge match.

    17 February – Dragons v Hull at ANZ Stadium - World Club Challenge double header.

    17 February – Rabbitohs v Wigan at ANZ Stadium - World Club Challenge double header.

    23 February – Storm v Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium - Testimonial Clash acknowledging Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston.

    24 February – Knights v Eels at Maitland No.1 Showground - NRL trial taken to Maitland.

    24 February – Rabbitohs v Dragons at Mudgee - Annual Charity Shield to be played at Mudgee.

    MATCH UPS TO WATCH OUT FOR
    17 February – Warriors v Storm at Rotorua Stadium - Former Storm forward Tohu Harris to take on his old team.

    17 February – Sharks v Sea Eagles at Southern Cross Stadium - Former Dragons teammates collide: Josh Dugan v Joel Thompson.

    23 February – Storm v Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium - Honoured players to take on one another: Cameron Smith v Jonathan Thurston, new Cowboys forward Jordan McLean to face his old club.

    24 February – Wests Tigers v Sharks at Campbelltown Stadium - Benji Marshall returns to Campbelltown to face new recruit Matt Moylan and Cronulla.

    24 February – Knights v Eels at Maitland No.1 Showground - Both New South Wales Origin stars will face-off for their new teams: Mitchell Pearce v Jarryd Hayne

    HOW TO WATCH
    For the rural games and the usual venues, check your club's website for updated ticket information.

    For those more inclined to watch the games from their couch, at least one game will be broadcast each weekend.

    Fox League's coverage

    10 February – Super League: Wigan v Hull FC at WIN Stadium, (7.45pm local)

    16 February – Storm v Leeds Rhinos at AAMI Park (8pm local)

    17 February – Dragons v Hull at ANZ Stadium (5.30pm local)

    17 February – Rabbitohs v Wigan at ANZ Stadium (7.40pm local)

    23 February – Storm v Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium (7pm local)

    24 February – Rabbitohs v Dragons at Mudgee (7.30pm local)

    Nine's coverage

    16 February – Storm v Leeds Rhinos at AAMI Park (8pm local)

    Live stream

    Fans check your club website for a potential live stream of the match on gameday.

    KEY PLAYER MOVEMENTS
    James Tedesco from Wests Tigers to Sydney Roosters

    Ben Hunt from Brisbane Broncos to St George-Illawarra Dragons

    Kieren Foran from New Zealand Warriors to Canterbury Bulldogs

    James Graham from Canterbury Bulldogs to St George-Illawarra Dragons

    Josh Dugan from St George-Illawarra Dragons to Cronulla Sharks

    Jack Bird from Cronulla Sharks to Brisbane Broncos

    Dane Gagai from Newcastle Knights to South Sydney Rabbitohs

    Josh Reynolds from Canterbury Bulldogs to Wests Tigers

    Joel Thompson from St George-Illawarra Dragons to Manly Sea Eagles


    https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/othe...es-venues-and-all-you-need-to-know/ar-BBIrn3b
     
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  3. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    [​IMG]
    NRL NEWS

    Matt Dufty re-signs with Dragons
    Author
    NRL.com
    Timestamp
    Thu 1 Feb 2018, 07:46 AM

    The St George Illawarra Dragons have extended fullback Matt Dufty's contract for another season, keeping the 22-year-old at the club through to at least the end of 2019.

    The speedster played the final seven games of the 2017 Telstra Premiership season after making his NRL debut in Round 20, replacing Josh Dugan as the club's first-choice fullback.

    "It's great to be here for another year. I thought being at the Dragons was the best opportunity for me moving forward in my rugby league career," Dufty said.

    "Last season was a big milestone in my life and moving forward to 2018 I'm very excited with the position I currently find myself in.

    "It means the world to be where I'm at now. Coming through the St George ranks and being a local junior, it's great to be able to remind kids that you can play for the team you dreamed of playing for."

    Dragons director of rugby league pathways Ian Millward said the club had big plans for Dufty and the rest of the team's playmaking spine following the recruitment of halfback Ben Hunt.

    "There is now an opportunity for Matt to establish himself as a fullback with the other outstanding members of our spine in Gareth Widdop, Ben Hunt and Cameron McInnes," Millward said.

    "It's exciting for us because if he does step up to the mark as we expect him to then we could have a spine that plays together for a very long time."

    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/02/01/matt-dufty-re-signs-with-dragons/
     
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  4. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    2018 NRL pre-season casualty ward: Injuries at all 16 clubs
    Author
    Alicia Newton
    Timestamp
    Thu 1 Feb 2018, 08:00 AM
    St George Illawarra Dragons

    • Euan Aitken (shoulder, running, no contact – aiming for trials)
    • Kurt Mann (shoulder, back to full training – trials)
    • Tariq Sims (wrist, back to full training – trials)
    The Dragons are on track to be fully fit for the start of the season.

    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/02/01/2018-nrl-pre-season-casualty-ward/
     
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  5. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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  6. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Doust calls time on 18-year reign as Dragons CEO
    Local Sport
    [​IMG]
    STEPPING DOWN: Peter Doust will retire at the end of 2018. Picture: Sylvia Liber

    ST GEORGE Illawarra CEO Peter Doust’s reign at the Dragons helm will come to an end, with the game’s longest serving chief executive confirming he’ll retire at season’s end.

    The club confirmed on Thursday that the 2018 season will be his last in charge of the joint-venture, though it’s likely he’ll remain with the club as a board member.

    Doust said in a statement that the time was right for him to move on, with his final season enough time for the club to implement a succession plan.

    "I have, and will continue, to thoroughly enjoy my time in the role," Doust said.

    "I feel very fortunate and privileged to have been afforded the opportunity to be the CEO of the Dragons and to have had a career in rugby league.

    "I made the decision over the holiday break, in consultation with my family, and I wanted to give Brian [Chairman Brian Johnston] appropriate notice to allow he and the board, the opportunity to plan for the future.

    "Essentially after 25 years in health care and 18 years in rugby league, I am at the stage in my life where I would like the time to pursue other interests. Rugby league by its very nature, never stops.

    "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the role, and am extremely passionate about the club and remain focused on its objectives before I finish-up.”

    One of the most polarising figures in rugby league, Doust’s retirement will no doubt be welcomed by sections of the red v faithful who’ve long called for his resignation.

    Thursday’s announcement ensures he will go out on his own terms. Bringing Wayne Bennett to the Dragons in 2009 will no doubt go down as his crowning achievement.

    The club broke a 31-year premiership drought under the supercoach a year later but missing the finals in five of the past six seasons has seen him come under fire from fans.

    It will see considerable debate over his legacy, though Doust said on Thursday: “I don’t believe that now is the time to reflect on my time at the Dragons.”

    With only a year left on his contract Doust is expected to turn his attention to securing WIN Corporation’s long mooted purchase of the club.


    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/...-time-on-18-year-reign-as-dragons-ceo/?cs=302
     
  7. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL 2018: Finals drought is motivation for Tyson Frizell

    It's the only way Tyson Frizell thinks he can top a career-best season last year.

    The St George Illawarra star has set his mind on filling a near-empty finals resume as he seeks to find a new level this NRL season.

    Despite establishing himself as a Kangaroos and NSW State of Origin representative last year, Frizell is determined to add to the single finals appearance since his debut in 2011.

    "I've played for a few years now and only made one finals appearance. It's something I'd love to tick off and be a part of," Frizell said.

    "It's very hard sitting back when it comes to September and watching finals games. It's something that's not quite enjoyable.

    "I know the group we have and what we can do with this team - it's definitely something that's driving me to wanting to play well and get this team going."

    Frizell was a standout for the Dragons last season with his trademark hole- running to average 108m and 28 tackles per game.

    And the 26-year-old registered the numbers despite battling a number of injuries throughout the season, including ankle, rib and back complaints.

    He fought through the entire Origin series with painkilling injections.

    "That's all part of rugby league - injuries come about. But I'm all fresh and healthy at this time of the year. Hopefully it stays that way throughout the year," Frizell said.

    The Dragons were in the top eight for the first 21 rounds last year before missing out by one spot.

    They've made the finals just one in six years, however Frizell believes that with the key additions of James Graham and Ben Hunt, the drought is ready to end.

    "The depth we've had in the past hasn't been as good as we have this year, (although) It's easy to say that now. You won't know until you get to that part of the year," he said.

    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/sp...vation-for-tyson-frizell-20180202-h0sfmw.html
     
  8. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    No ill-will over Thompson departure: Frizell
    Dragons Den News
    [​IMG]
    ALL THE BEST: Dragons forward Tyson Frizell (left) says the loss of back-row partner Joel Thompson (right) is a big blow for the club. Picture: AAP

    IT breaks up one of the most dynamic back-row duos in the NRL but Dragons star Tyson Frizell says he doesn’t begrudge long-time foil Joel Thompson’s departure to join Manly this season.

    Thompson and Frizell have locked down both the Dragons edges for the past three seasons and were expected to do so again before an early release allowed Thompson to sign a long-term deal with the Sea Eagles.

    It’s a massive blow for us, Joel’s a quality player and he was great to have around the club.

    Tyson Frizell
    Having enjoyed an extended break after the World Cup, the news came as a surprise for Frizell but he remains confident the club’s next generation can fill the void.

    “It’s a massive blow for us, Joel’s a quality player and he was great to have around the boys and the club,” Frizell said.

    “I found out as soon as he made [the decision]. I saw him that day, it was actually at my wedding and he let me know. That’s the way rugby league goes sometimes.

    “We’re happy for him, you’ve got to do what’s best for yourself and your family and, the way it panned out, he’s at Manly now and he’s enjoying it there.

    "We’ve got guys like Luch [Luciano Leilua] coming through and, as much as it was hard to see Thommo go, we do have other players there putting their hand up to take that opportunity.


    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/5206484/thompson-loss-a-big-blow/?cs=3713
     
  9. hewi

    hewi Juniors

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    That’s left former Dragon Siliva Havili and Garvey to fight for the starting No.9 jersey, although Sam Williams has also returned to the club and may enter the fold.

    Quote from a Fox sport article. Three ex Dragons that I believe were let down by very poor coaching. Hope they go well in Canberra. Good luck fellas , I will watch with interest.
     
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  10. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Bennett: Doust 'one of the best'
    Author
    Joel Gould
    Timestamp
    Fri 2 Feb 2018, 05:17 PM


    Wayne Bennett wouldn't have signed as coach of the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2009 if he'd caught sight of the club's then underwhelming training facility, but what happened next is one reason why he's hailed outgoing club CEO Peter Doust as one of the best administrators he's worked alongside.

    "I loved working with Peter because he was decisive and everything he told me he would do, he did," Bennett told NRL.com.

    "And if he couldn't do it to the ultimate perfection he gave it as much as he could. I remember when I first went down there I told him that I wouldn't have signed with the club if I'd seen their training facility.

    "He promised me that he'd do something about that and fix it up, which he did to his credit.

    "We got a better training facility. It wasn't world class but it was good and workable."

    In the wake of Doust's announcement that he will stand down at the end of 2018 after 18 years at the helm of the joint venture, Bennett has outlined why his partnership with the Dragons boss prospered during his three-year stint.

    Doust has been a regular target of angry supporters when the club has failed to live up to expectations, but Bennett said the CEO had secured better facilities for the club, been at the helm for a drought-breaking premiership in 2010 and played more of a key role in keeping and securing stars than was widely known.

    "I don't think he ever got enough credit for what he did at Kogarah and Wollongong with regards to improving those grounds," Bennett said.

    "He got a lot of government money and did a great job.

    "Kogarah is a magnificent football ground and always has been, but in my opinion among those suburban grounds in Sydney it is number one."

    [​IMG]
    Broncos coach Wayne Bennett. :copyright:Scott Davis/NRL Photos
    Bennett told NRL.com of the agreement he struck with Doust about how things were going to work, with neither party interfering in the other's jurisdiction.

    Doust was master of his administration domain in Kogarah, with Bennett to run his own race and the football team down the road in Wollongong.

    "I had a great relationship with him. He is one of the best I've worked with, and I don't think we had a bad word between each other," Bennett said.

    "I got a bit of background stuff not long after I took the job that he liked to come down and put his fingerprints around the place, but that was the last thing I wanted.

    "So I told him when I got the job 'here's the deal. You just stay at Kogarah. I'll look after Wollongong... and I'll ring you every Monday.' He had a chuckle, and that's how it panned out. He was great."

    He got far too much criticism and never enough praise for what he did as far as I am concerned.

    Wayne Bennett
    Bennett chuckled and said Doust "never had to come down once" to training, but then added they did have a rendezvous "four or five times" at a favourite seafood joint in the Steel City.

    "It was a great restaurant," he quipped.

    Premiership mission accomplished, Bennett left the Dragons in 2012 and did not go back to join Doust after his three-year stint at the Newcastle Knights. The lure of the Broncos brought him home just when it appeared the Dragons CEO was on the cusp of another stunning coup.

    Looking back, Bennett conceded Doust did his level best to prevent him leaving the Dragons in the first place.

    The Rabbitohs, Broncos and Knights were among the clubs in the hunt with the Knights ultimately prevailing, but Bennett told NRL.com that Doust had put the best offer on the table of the lot.

    "It was a great three years I had there at the Dragons and of all the offers I had when I left, Peter Doust made me the best offer to stay there," he said.

    "He got criticised for not keeping me but he should never have got criticised for that, because it was purely my decision.

    "We'd done such a good job there and it was such a good time there that I just thought 'these things usually end in tears. I just want to get out now while I'm in front'. I had other offers to go other places, but my point is that Peter made me the best offer to keep me there and did everything he possibly could."

    Bennett pointed to Doust's rich red and white heritage as being a driver in his life. Doust's father Laurie was a legendary director, selector and recruiter who brought Johnny Raper, Billy Smith and Graeme Langlands to the club.

    Peter Doust brought Bennett to the club, and the only title since 1979 followed and a burden was lifted.

    That's why Bennett was delighted for Doust "and guys like [former football manager] Craig Young" after the 2010 premiership because they had "carried that weight of responsibility on their shoulders and in their hearts".

    2018 NRL Fantasy is now open

    "He got far too much criticism and never enough praise for what he did as far as I am concerned, and he did what no-one else had done in 31 years when he was chief executive for the 2010 premiership," Bennett said.

    "Peter worked really hard to get and keep key players for me. No-one appreciates how hard that it is to do, and Mark Gasnier is a classic example of that.

    "He left because of situations there he wasn't happy with, but he came back because of guys like Peter Doust."


    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/02/03/bennett-doust-one-of-the-best/
     
  11. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    [​IMG]
    NRL NEWS

    The damning statistics Dragons aiming to avoid
    Author
    Brad Walter Senior Reporter
    Timestamp
    Sat 3 Feb 2018, 11:00 AM

    2017 heartbreak driving the Dragons

    St George Illawarra Dragons have developed a regular mid-season slump and the players have identified fixing this worrying annual trend as the key to ensuring they make the 2018 finals.

    After years of barnstorming finishes for the Dragons to scrape into the finals, Wayne Bennett put the focus on starting well during his three-year reign and they have continued that under Paul McGregor.

    However, after winning six of their first seven matches last season, they lost seven of their next 10 to fall frustratingly short of a play-off berth.

    The season before they won eight of the first 15 matches but managed just two more victories, while in 2015 they started with eight wins from their first 11 before losing seven in a row.

    "It is no secret that we always start well and come to the middle of the year we sort of seem to struggle a little bit," Test forward Tyson Frizell said.

    "We have noticed that and hopefully we can make a change this year and fix that up.

    "It is at the back end and during the middle of the year that we seem to struggle."

    Defence was a key area in which they fell away during the second half of 2017 - and not just the average 21.25 points they conceded in the last 12 matches compared to 16.25 in the first 12.

    It hurts so much because I know what we could have done and the potential that we had in the group.

    Tyson Frizell
    According to NRL.com Stats, dominant tackles plunged form 80 in the first half of the season to 20 in the last 12 matches, while the Dragons were the worst in the NRL for tries conceded from an error with 20 for the season.

    In the opening 12 matches they averaged 23.75 points but then scored just 20.66 in the second half of the season.

    "That is the main focus this year, getting this team playing well collectively and starting the year off well," Frizell said.

    After being a member of Australia's World Cup winning team last December, Frizell married his long-time partner Sammy Fahy and hsf their honeymoon in the United States before returning to pre-season training.

    It was an ideal end to the year but the Test and Origin back-rower still agonises about missing out on the finals after the Dragons fell from first place mid-season to finish ninth.

    "I have only played one finals game during my career [in 2015] so that is something I really want to play in and be a part of," he said.

    "It is hard to take in last year how we missed the opportunity to make the finals and that is why it hurts so much because I know what we could have done and the potential that we had in the group."

    With second-row partner Joel Thompson advising Frizell at his wedding he was leaving to join the Manly Sea Eagles, the 26-year-old admits he will need to take on more of a leadership role.


    However, he said Thompson's departure would provide an opportunity for 21-year-old Luciano Leilua, who is considered the most skilful player at the club.

    "It is a massive blow for us [to lose Thompson], he is good for the boys and good for the team," Frizell said.

    "But we have got guys like Luce [Leilua] coming through and as hard as it was to see Thommo go we do have other players there who are willing to put their hand up and take the opportunity."

    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/02/03/the-damning-statistics-st-george-illawarra-dragons-aim-to-avoid/
     
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  12. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NFL For Dummies: The Team You Should Be Following Based On Your League Team
    Need an NFL team? We've got you covered
    39 mins ago
    [​IMG] Getty


    Look, we're not judging here. We're here to help. So if the only time you even think about NFL is when the Super Bowl comes around, we'll make sure you know everything you need to.

    The most important thing? Who you're going to support. Rather than taking a shot in the dark, we've done a very thorough and scientific investigation into what NFL team you should follow based on your League team.

    Brisbane Broncos = Denver Broncos

    Yep, it’s mostly because it’s unbelievable that both competitions have a team named the Broncos, but also the Denver version of the Broncos have sold out their home games every time dating all the way back to 1970. And the only team/stadium combination that even comes close to that level of dedication in the NRL is the Brisbane Broncos and Suncorp Stadium.

    Sydney Roosters = Dallas Cowboys

    It’s nice supporting the Roosters. They’re successful, glamorous and run by one of the more powerful figures in the game, Nick Politis. Hello Dallas Cowboys. With Jerry Jones at the helm, the Cowboys are the most valuable sporting franchise in the world valued at $4 billion. In the comfort of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, Roosters supporters simply believe they are the world’s most valuable sporting franchise.


    South Sydney Rabbitohs = Green Bay Packers

    When diehard Rabbitoh supporters Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes A Court took over the club in 2006, they inadvertently channelled the spirit of the Green Bay Packers and it’s cheesehead supporters. The Packers are the only community owned franchise in all of American sports and while South Sydney don’t have hundreds of thousands of stockholders in the form of their fans as the Packers do, having Russell at the helm at least means you’ve got someone who’s passionate about the club succeeding.

    Manly Sea Eagles = Miami Dolphins

    The party nature of the Manly supporters would feel right at home with the Dolphins of Miami. It’s fun in the sun. And just like the Sea Eagles fans who think the Spit Bridge is a bridge too far to travel for an away game, Dolphin fans prefer the comfort of South Florida and don’t think it’s worth leaving for a football game.

    Parramatta Eels = San Francisco 49ers

    An easy association to make because of Jarryd Hayne but the similarities go much deeper than the Hayne Plane. The fans of both teams probably still stand around the bar boasting about the success of the glory years that were the 1980s and the Hall of Famers who they cheered on. For the 49ers it was Jerry Rice and Joe Montana under the guidance of Bill Walsh and for the Eels it was Peter Sterling and Ray Price with the tutelage of Jack Gibson.

    Canterbury Bulldogs = Philadelphia Eagles

    If you’re a Bulldogs supporter you’re loyal, vocal with a bit of a hard edge… and you know what it means to be despised by the rest of the competition. The Philadelphia faithful are regularly voted the NFL’s most hated fan base. On the upside, you’ve made the Super Bowl!

    St George Illawarra Dragons = Pittsburgh Steelers

    If things had panned out differently the team would be the St George Illawarra Steelers, but they didn’t and here we are. Like Steelers fans, Dragons supporters are everywhere. Maybe because it’s two supporter bases combined, maybe because of bandwagon jumpers getting on board after those many dragons premierships all those years ago or perhaps because anyone who grows up in Illawarra or Wollongong supporting the club moves away as soon as they get their drivers license. You’ll feel right at home with the Pittsburgh supporters who despise their home city as much.

    Wests Tigers = Los Angeles Rams

    Just as Wests and Balmain were forced together so too were the city of Los Angeles and the Rams. First they were the Cleveland Rams, before a 48 year run as the Los Angeles Rams was ended with a move to St. Louis for 20 years before returning to the city of angels. So while Wests Tigers fans might not enjoy the consistent rotation between their multiple “home grounds”, imagine how the poor Rams feel about the rotation between their multiple “home cities”.

    Penrith Panthers = Carolina Panthers

    You’re proud of your team and you’re proud of where you’re from. And supporting Carolina Panthers means you don’t have to buy any new merchandise.

    North Queensland Cowboys = Seattle Seahawks

    1300 Smiles Stadium is your home, your fortress and you defend it with your voice every time the Cowboys plays there. That loudness and loyalty would make you a welcome member of Seattle’s 12 Man, the moniker given to the Seahawks fan base who set the noise record for an outdoor stadium in 2014. And just like the Seahawks of Seattle, you are a long long long way away from any of the other teams in the competition and so you’ve got nothing to do but talk about just how great you and your team were/are/will be.

    Gold Coast Titans = Jacksonville Jaguars

    You’re a new team. You’ve never made the big dance and chances are you never will. Simple

    Melbourne Storm = New England Patriots

    You’re a fan who knows what it’s like to be the envy of every other supporter base. Simply put, you enjoy winning. You’ve got the best coach (Bellamy/Belichik) in the business and you’re lead on field by a once in a generation player (Smith/Brady) who might go down as the greatest of all time once (or if) he retires. And you know what it’s like to be at odds with the sports governing body over scandals (Salary Cap/Deflategate).

    Cronulla Sharks = New York Giants

    You think the Shire is the greatest place in Australia and consequently the Sharks are the greatest sporting team in the Australia. You’ll fit right in supporting the New York Giants. Although they’re going through a bit of a flat spot, rest assured with the over the top confidence of their supporters, the Giants will be back in playoff discussions next year.

    Canberra Raiders = Buffalo Bills

    As a Raiders supporter you pine for the success of the early nineties. Days when names like Meninga, Stuart, Clyde and Daley almost guaranteed you would feature at the pointy end of the season. Substitute those names for Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Jim Kelly and you have the Buffalo Bills. A powerhouse in the early nineties, the Bills made four consecutive Super Bowls… which they lost… ALL OF THEM. On the upside as a Raiders fan you’ll be well armed with warm clothes which is perfect because Buffalo experiences more snow than any other city with an NFL team and the wind only adds to the chill factor.

    Newcastle Knights = Detroit Lions

    Tough, gritty and without much to celebrate… this could be the synopsis for the fans of the Newcastle Knights or the Detroit Lions. But let’s just sum it up by saying that as a Knights fan, you can sympathise with the difficulty of supporting a team that seemingly is in a constant state of rebuilding.

    New Zealand Warriors = Cleveland Browns

    Forever disappointing. Year after year the Warriors loyal fans hope and pray that they’ll get their shit together and make a run but the wait continues. Welcome to the world of the Cleveland Browns. Both teams have gone through seven different head coaches since 2004 and neither team have ever won a championship. So Warriors fans should feel more than at home in the Burnt Orange and Seal Brown of the perennial NFL strugglers.


    https://www.triplem.com.au/sport/ot...r-league-team?station=sydney&geoRedirect=true
     
  13. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    The Ben Hunt effect 2.0: How Angus Crichton’s Roosters deal warps the 2018 NRL market
    NRL Premiership

    [​IMG]
    Angus Crichton of the Rabbitohs gestures after a try.Source: AAP
    THEY’RE the huge deals warping the player market.

    Last year it was Ben Hunt’s game changing deal with St George Illawarra and this year it’s Angus Crichton’s impending move to the Sydney Roosters.

    When a huge deal is struck so early in the piece, it becomes the measuring stick for where the market is at for that position.

    It happened with halves in 2017.

    Hunt’s payday saw every off-contract playmaker chase their slice of the inflated pie.

    Recruitment chiefs across the game felt the impact of the deal.

    It’s bizarre to think that one contract can have such a ripple effect but that’s the reality of the NRL.

    [​IMG]
    Canberra backrower Josh Papalii fends off Ashley Taylor.Source: News Corp Australia
    In 2018, it’s the year of the backrower.

    There’s no shortage of them off-contract with plenty of quality unsigned.

    The likes of Boyd Cordner, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Jamie Buhrer, Ethan Lowe and Simon Mannering are all free agents in the final season of their current deals.

    Already Cordner, Kaufusi and Papalii are eyeing off dramatic increases as internationals.

    Emerging talents like Esan Marsters, Jaydn Su’a and Tevita Pangai Junior are also unsigned for 2019.

    Canberra’s head of recruitment, Peter Mulholland, admits one big move by a rival can be felt across multiple clubs.

    “It can warp the market because perception is part of our game,” Mulholland told the Market Watch podcast.

    “There’s a public perception that ‘this is what he’s getting’ and the managers that aren’t involved in it will look at it and say, ‘well perhaps this is what halfbacks or backrowers are worth these days’.

    [​IMG]
    Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner.Source: Getty Images
    “It sends a little bit of a shiver through the market.”

    While it was heavily reported that Hunt’s deal at the Dragons is $1.2 million-a-year, foxsports.com.au understands the deal is actually worth an average of $1 million-a-season.

    Crichton’s figures at the Roosters have also been exaggerated by some.

    While the South Sydney young gun will become the highest paid backrower in the game next year, figures of $3 million and $2.7 million are wide of the mark.

    Foxsports.com.au understands the value is closer to $800,000-a-season.

    Inaccuracy in the figures being reported can occur for multiple reasons.

    [​IMG]
    Issac Luke of the Warriors runs after Angus Crichton of the Rabbitohs.Source: Getty Images
    Hunt and Crichton’s deals are by no means the only example, with Mulholland pointing to the fact many clubs leak information to the media to sway perception of the public.

    “It’s hard. Sometimes it can be a media speculation that presents these figures to us, it’s not the real cap value,” he explained.

    “Sometimes the clubs that they’re departing from can release a figure that says this is what they’re getting but it might be a little off to give us a reason why they’ve left.”

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nrl-premiership/the-ben-hunt-affect-20-how-angus-crichtons-roosters-deal-warps-the-2018-nrl-market/news-story/83b8c2e1e0e5a4707e858935815540d5
     
  14. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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  15. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Ben Hunt reveals clear-the-air text message from Cameron Munster after Kangaroos camp bust-up
    Matt Encarnacion and Mel Woods, AAP
    an hour ago

    ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA star recruit Ben Hunt has given his side of the story following an altercation with Cameron Munster during last year’s World Cup and insists there is no bad blood between the pair.

    Munster was sent home to Melbourne before the quarter-final win over Samoa in Darwin and returned ahead of the following week’s semi-final, while Hunt remained with the team.



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Ben Hunt has no regrets in moving to the Dragons

    Hunt was stunned to hear reports of a bust up when lambasted by his new Dragons teammates last week, and is adamant he wasn’t involved in a physical incident.

    “I come in from training and all the boys were having a go at me saying I was a big boxer and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ Hunt told AAP on Monday.

    “It was a big surprise for me because I didn’t think there was any story there and didn’t know where it came from.

    “It was a bit of a shock.

    “If they’re saying that’s why he got sent home, why wouldn’t I have got sent home?”

    The former Brisbane halfback revealed Munster immediately texted his fellow Kangaroos squad member last week to clear any lingering issues.

    The duo are a strong chance of playing for Queensland in this year’s State of Origin series following the representative retirements of Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk.

    Munster starred for the Maroons at five-eighth in last year’s Origin decider.

    “Cam messaged me asking, ‘Are we okay, what happened, are we all sweet?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, mate. I don’t have a problem with you at all’,” Hunt said.

    “I’m sure I’m going to be in some teams with Cam in the future and I’ve got no problem with him. I’ll be happy to go have a coffee or beer with him now. We’re sweet.”

    [​IMG]
    Hunt has embraced the pressure of being the main man at the Dragons this year following his reported $6-million move from Brisbane to play alongside captain Gareth Widdop.

    He also isn’t shying away from his goal of establishing himself for Queensland and Australia.

    “I just think that’s the type of player I am. I believe that I’ve got the ability to be there,” he said.

    “I’ve had a little taste of Origin and playing for Australia now, and that just makes you more eager to get into those teams.

    [​IMG]
    Ben Hunt chats to Cameron Smith at Kangaroos training.
    “Getting the Dragons into the finals, personally playing some rep footy ... if I start the year really well, then I’ll be putting my hand up to be in the mix for some rep teams. That’s a goal for me.”

    Meanwhile Storm star Billy Slater said Munster had impressed since returning to Melbourne’s pre-season after Christmas.

    “He’s really stepped up into a leadership role at training and he’s going to have to do that with Cooper moving on,” Slater said.

    “It will naturally happen for him. He’s a natural footballer and a brilliant footballer at that and he will evolve into becoming a leader of this club.”

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/n...k=1dc34ecb85154ebe3d6e6ebc04f6d2a6-1517807386

    [​IMG]
     
  16. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    NRL 2017: Hunt out to recapture 2015 form at new club
    Dragons Den News
    [​IMG]
    BATTLE HARDENED: Marquee Dragons recruits James Graham and Ben Hunt at their new WIN Stadium digs. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

    IT sent a volatile NRL halves market ablaze and marquee Dragons recruit Ben Hunt admits even he was left taken aback by the enormity of the six-year $6 million that brought him to Wollongong this season.

    The lucrative deal, inked in advance of last season, set in motion an unprecedented re-shuffle of the NRL’ play-making stocks and ensures his performances will be heavily scrutinised in 2018 and beyond.

    It was also the first time the 27-year-old ever considered his future lay anywhere other than in Brisbane – a club he played 187 games for after debuting in 2009.

    “It was of bit of a surprise and pretty unexpected to be honest,” Hunt said of the longest and richest offer ever made by the joint-venture.

    “To get a deal that long and to have that much security in your career felt pretty crazy. It’s something that doesn’t come along very often in the game.

    “There was definitely stages of my career where I never thought I’d leave Brisbane at all, I couldn’t really picture myself playing for another team.

    “They obviously gave me me my opportunity and I’d been there for a long time. [The Dragons deal] was going to set my family up so it was just too good to pass up. After I signed it went out of my mind pretty quick.

    “I just had to do a job and got on with my footy last year and it’s not something I’m going to think about this year. I’m just here to do a job for this team, play my best brand of footy and bring whatever I can to the team to win. That’s all I’m concentrating on.”

    Many consider the large sum a gamble from the club – particularly as Hunt spent time in Queensland Cup and off the bench from the Broncos last year – but it would have seemed a much surer bet at the end of 2015 when he took the club to within a single golden-point of the ultimate prize.

    He believes a change of scenery, and the chance to link with Gareth Widddop at the scrum-base, will allow him to re-capture the form that made him one of the game’s premier No. 7s.

    “That player from back then hasn’t gone anywhere, he’s still here, he can still play some good footy,” Hunt said.

    “Looking at the team I’ve got around me, I’m confident they’re going to play some good footy to. Gareth got five-eighth of the year last year so there’s no extra pressure there.

    “He’s such an exceptional player, he can play off the cuff, he can play structured he’s got every string to his bow. I’ve just got to worry about what I can do and I know he’ll take care of the rest.”

    While Hunt booked an early ticket south, fellow big-name signing James Graham proved a late-season bargain buy for a club that’s made just one post-season appearance in six seasons.

    Hunt has made 13 in that time, including the 2015 decider, while Graham has 11 finals and two grand finals to his name. Dragons fans will be hoping that wealth of big-game experience can snap their side’s six-year run of mediocrity.

    “Being in those games and knowing how to handle those situations is something we’ve had a bit of experience in now,” Hunt said.

    “You’ve got to get there first and that’s what we need to concentrate on. We need to start fast and hold that through the Origin period and the back end of the season to make those finals. After that anything can happen.”

    http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/...capture-2015-form-in-dragons-colours/?cs=3713
     
  17. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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  18. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Indigenous Youth Summit Dragons visit WIN Stadium
    Author
    Dragons.com.au dragons.com.au
    Timestamp
    Tue 6 Feb 2018, 11:04 AM

    The St George Illawarra Dragons recently hosted the 2018 Festival of Indigenous Rugby League Youth Summit participants from the South Coast region at WIN Stadium.

    The Dragons representatives Morgan Blakeney, Maya Wills and Tarlay Trindall were introduced to the club School 2 Work project officer Scott Morgan, Dragons NRL player Josh Kerr and community manager Paul Everill.

    They were given a tour of the training facilities at WIN Stadium as well as around the media quarters.

    Josh provided the participants insight into the importance of their culture and spoke about how to embrace this opportunity to be proud of who they are as they represent the community and their families next week at the Festival of Indigenous Rugby League Celebrations in Sydney.

    Morgan, Maya and Tarlay have all been selected to represent the Dragons at the summit as they have been identified by their school community as leaders of the future and representatives for the NRL School 2 Work program.

    The NRL School 2 Work Program with the support of the Dragons and the federal government continue to support real change for Indigenous students as they make the challenging transition from year 12 onto further education and employment.

    The commitment to promote and support these programs and work towards closing the gap in Indigenous employment and education outcomes is making real change in the community.

    https://www.dragons.com.au/news/2018/02/06/indigenous-youth-summit-dragons-visit-win-stadium/
     
  19. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Dragons' Aitken keen to end injury curse
    [​IMG]
    St George Illawarra's Euan Aitken has returned to full NRL training after a hamstring injury. (AAP)


    St George Illawarra centre Euan Aitken is back to full NRL training after suffering yet another hamstring strain a fortnight ago.

    Updated Updated 1 hour ago

    St George Illawarra centre Euan Aitken is confident his chronic hamstring injury won't keep him from his goal of becoming one of the top three-quarters in the NRL.

    Aitken returned to full training this week after suffering yet another hamstring strain a fortnight ago, which followed a radical off-season epidural to address the problem.

    The 22-year-old was dogged by hamstring and back problems for most of last year before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury that required major surgery over the summer.

    Aitken admitted considering whether the constant injuries would force him out of the NRL in the same manner as former Dragons junior Yaw Kiti Glymin, who left the club last season.

    "You definitely question (retiring). I hate to put my mate Kiti Glymin as an example but he had a lot of troubles with his hamstring. He found it too difficult to overcome," Aitken told AAP.

    "He's going to have a year off but he's not at the Dragons anymore. That's my worst case scenario - for it to keep happening and I can't get on top of it.

    "But it won't end me because I won't let it end me. I've just got to find a way around it."

    Aitken is considered the front-runner to partner Tim Lafai in the centres as part of a backline that will be fed by international halves Gareth Widdop and Ben Hunt.

    And after playing just a dozen games last season, he is desperate to show why the club extended his contract until the end of 2020 almost a year ago.

    "I'm coming back and looking forward to a big year. I feel like I've got things to prove," he said.

    "I've spent nearly a year out so I want to establish myself as one of the better centres in the comp and I want to be one of them dominant players that you know is going to be hard to tackle.

    "I haven't reached any of my potential yet. With players like Gareth and Ben, they can only help.

    "We've got some consistency on the right now - me, (Tyson Frizell) and Ben Hunt, we're all here for at least three years so we've got a lot of time to work on these combinations and make it one of the most dominant sides in the NRL."

    Source: AAP

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/dragons-aitken-keen-to-end-injury-curse
     
  20. getsmarty

    getsmarty Coach

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    Backyard wrestles and PS4 forging Red V’s next big thing
    6th Feb 2018 9:29 AM

    [​IMG]
    Luciano Leilua during St George Illawarra Dragons training at WIN Stadium.

    by Simon Brunsdon

    LUCIANO Leilua is tough. And he's competitive.

    And you can attribute both those traits - at least in part - to his older brother.

    Because it's the childhood backyard wrestle sessions and now PlayStation battles that have forged the 21-year-old wrecking ball who sits in the WIN Stadium grandstand speaking to foxsports.com.au.


    But don't be fooled by what you see on television - this 116-kilogram backrower smashing opposition defences to bits. He's as jovial as they come, with a laugh that belies his fierce on-field persona.

    He likes to "be myself" ... and baulks at comparisons to big brother Joey. But he also knows he might not be where he is today without the influence of his sibling mentor.

    In fact, the younger Leilua likes to think both brothers have helped each other become an NRL star, and an NRL star in waiting.



    [​IMG]
    Luciano Leilua of the Dragons offloads during the 2016 season.


    "We used to have little tussles sometimes (as children). It was good, toughened me up, toughened him up, and it got us here today," Leilua tells foxsports.com.au.

    "Backyard footy was mad, we used to whack each other, big hits, shoulder charge each other.

    "But it made us tough and it got us where we are today so I'm grateful.

    "Even little things like when we play PS4, he brags about how good he is. It's pretty competitive.

    "When we have games on PS4 he's heaps competitive, sometimes I just let him win."

    Being five years apart, the brothers have never played against one another in a competitive senior football game.

    That could change on May 20, when St George Illawarra travels to Mudgee to take on Canberra in round 11.

    Leilua has already circled the date on his calendar. Now it's up to Dragons coach Paul McGregor - and a clean run of health for both brothers - as to whether the match-up eventuates.

    If they do happen to be on the field at the same time, the likelihood they'll physically clash is high, given Joey plays right centre for the Raiders and Luciano is gunning for the Red V's left edge position.

    Leilua says it would be "a dream come true" to share an NRL field with his brother. Whose side their parents will take is still up for discussion.

    But before that game rolls around, Leilua knows he has a fight on his hands to cement a full-time spot in the team.

    He played five NRL games for the Dragons in 2016 but spent last season biding his time in reserve grade. He won their player of the year award.



    [​IMG]
    Luciano Leilua during St George Illawarra Dragons training at WIN Stadium.


    The exit of Joel Thompson means there's a backrow spot up for grabs, and the buzz around Wollongong is young Leilua is one of the frontrunners.

    "There's a good crew of young lads here and he's one of them," veteran forward James Graham said of Leilua.

    "He's an exceptionally talented individual with a huge career in front of him, and (I will) try to point him in the right direction at times."

    Leilua admits the step up to first grade depends largely on his fitness.

    He's knuckled down over pre-season and is intent on proving his commitment to coach McGregor and his Dragons teammates.

    And if he can, an NRL jersey surely awaits.

    "This whole pre-season I've been working hard on my fitness and my diet. I can't wait until the games start so I can show it," he said.

    "I'll see what I can do in the trials and hopefully get that spot. Run hard, tackle hard, see what's in front of me and play football."

    https://www.tweeddailynews.com.au/news/backyard-wrestles-and-ps4-battles-forging-red-vs-n/3327743/
     
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