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

  1. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Youth summit representatives visit Dragons
    Mon 4 Feb 2019, 04:56 PM

    The St George Illawarra Dragons recently hosted the 2019 NRL All Stars Indigenous Youth Leadership Summit participants from the South Coast region at WIN Stadium.

    Dragons representatives Zippy Corser-Anu, Ruby Peterlin, Taylor Hawke and Brody Mitchell; along with local NRL School 2 Work project officer Michelle Wilson, spent time at the Dragons training session this week.

    During their visit the group had the opportunity to meet Dragons NRL Indigenous All Stars representative Josh Kerr, as well as other current indigenous squad members Jai Field, Tristan Sailor and Jonus Pearson, in the lead up to the Youth Summit in Melbourne during NRL All Stars week.

    Last year's participant, Maya Wills, was also on hand and provided current participants with insight into the importance of their culture, spoke about how to embrace this opportunity and encouraged them to be proud of who they are as they represent the community and their families in Melbourne next week.

    Brody, Ruby, Taylor and Zippy have all been selected to represent the Dragons at the summit as they have been identified by their school community as future leaders and representatives for the NRL School 2 Work program.

    With the support of the Dragons and federal government, the NRL School 2 Work Program continues to spark real change for Indigenous students as they make the challenging transition from year 12 onto further education and employment.
    Warabrook saint likes this.
  2. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Road to Regions tour gets set to go
    NRL Media Release NRL Media
    Sun 3 Feb 2019, 08:01 AM

    Coen Hess, Ali Brigginshaw, Dale Finucane, Isabelle Kelly and Tim Mannah are among a host of male and female rugby league players hitting the road this week to visit more than 60 regional towns across Queensland and New South Wales.

    The visits are part of the NRL’s annual ‘Road to Regions’ tour, providing an opportunity for players to meet some of their biggest fans throughout regional and rural parts of the country before the Premiership season commences.

    NRL Head of Government and Community Relations, Jaymes Boland-Rudder said the Road to Regions tour also provided the players and the game the opportunity to promote positive education and wellbeing messages amongst communities.

    “The Road to Regions tour is a fantastic way for our players to say thank you to local communities for their support of rugby league, as well as a chance to impart important education messages around respect, positive mental wellbeing and empowering one another,” Mr Boland-Rudder said.

    As part of the tour, the NRL will also deliver its State of Mind grassroots program, with more than 95 junior rugby league clubs having taken part in the program in 2018.

    The program has been developed alongside expert health partners (Kids Helpline, headspace, Lifeline and Black Dog Institute) in the mental wellbeing space and is designed to increase mental health literacy and reduce the stigma around mental illness.

    The NRL Road to Regions tours are proudly supported by the New South Wales and Queensland Governments.

    A list of the 2019 NRL Road to Regions locations and players attending locations is below:

    Charters Towers (North QLD): 4-5 Feb
    Coen Hess (Cowboys) and Brittany Breayley (NRLW)

    Roma and Districts (Central QLD): 4-6 Feb
    Frank Winterstein (Sea Eagles), Simaima Taufa (Roosters) and Ali Brigginshaw (NRLW)

    Armidale (North West NSW): 4-6 Feb
    Robbie Rochow (Tigers), Tim Mannah (Eels) and Corban McGregor (NRLW)

    Griffith and Leeton (South West NSW): 4-6 Feb
    Jordan Rapana (Raiders), Dale Finucane (Storm) and Ruan Sims (NRLW)

    Malanda and Atherton (Far North QLD): 6-8 Feb
    Kurt Capewell (Sharks), Aiden Guerra (Knights) and Tahlulah Tillett (NRLW)

    Biloela and Monto (Central QLD): 6-8 Feb
    Joe Ofahengaue (Broncos), Adam Doueihi (Rabbitohs) and Chelsea Baker (NRLW)

    Grafton and Yamba (Northern NSW): 6-8 Feb
    Fa’amanu Brown (Bulldogs), Anthony Don (Titans) and Isabelle Kelly (NRLW)

    Coolah, Dunedoo and Wellington (Western NSW): 6-8 Feb
    Euan Aitken (Dragons), Tim Grant (Panthers), Talesha Quinn (NRLW) and Ruan Sims (NRLW)

    For more information on the 2019 NRL Road to Regions tour, visit
  3. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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  4. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Quinn thrilled for new era of women's league in central west NSW
    Tanisha Stanton Reporter
    Tue 5 Feb 2019, 03:54 PM

    Dragons second-rower Talesha Quinn hopes the NRL's Road to Region initiative will stimulate the growth of the new women's rugby league competition in central west NSW which is due to start on Saturday.

    Quinn – along with Roosters prop Ruan Sims, Dragons centre Euan Aitken and Panthers prop Tim Grant – will represent the NRLW and the NRL in a visit to the regional towns of Coolah, Dunedoo and Wellington from February 4 to February 10.

    Quinn, who grew up in Parkes, knows the influence that NRL stars from the NSW central west like Josh Jackson, Andrew Ryan, Tyrone Peachey and Jesse Ramien still have on the local competitions.

    The 29-year-old hopes women from the central west who love rugby league can help build a strong regional women's competition, that in turn could lead to a pathway to the NRLW.

    "There is so much undiscovered female talent out in the country," Quinn said.

    "Growing up in Parkes we were always at footy on the weekend but for the girls we could only play touch football or netball.

    "The women's league tag competition is growing each year out there but to have a women's rugby league competition starting is going to be amazing and it will grow the game so much."

    The winning try for NSW.
    Women's State of Origin: Best photos of 2018

    Blues players celebrate a try.
    Women's State of Origin: Best photos of 2018

    Isabelle Kelly was named player of the match.
    Women's State of Origin: Best photos of 2018

    Kezie Apps on the move for NSW.
    Women's State of Origin: Best photos of 2018

    Sam Bremner surges ahead.
    Women's State of Origin: Best photos of 2018

    The Road to Regions initiative is being hosted across eight different locations in New South Wales and Queensland and aims to support and empower rugby league communities with past and present players taking part in educational programs at schools, visits to junior rugby league clubs and attending fundraising events.

    Quinn, who is still in rehab due to a reoccurring knee injury, said delivering messages around mental and physical well-being was a crucial aspect of the trip.

    "As well as encouraging kids to play rugby league it is also vital that we are having conversations around our mental and physical health," Quinn said.

    "After having surgery on my left knee last year in July and then re-injuring it eighth weeks later when I played in the NRLW, I've really had to look after my mental health whilst also staying on top of my physical recovery.

    "I'm really looking forward to speaking to the young ones about this as my mental and physical health take priority at the moment in getting me back on the field."

    Titans winger Anthony Don will accompany Bulldogs returning five-eighth Fa'amanu Brown and Roosters centre Isabelle Kelly when they take the Road to Regions initiative to Grafton and Yamba on Wednesday.

    Don, who grew up in Grafton, said he feels a responsibility to get back to his home town and spread to gospel of rugby league as well as some of the game's important messages.

    "I was a sports-mad kid growing up and I know most of the kids out at Grafton and Yamba are the same," Don said.

    "We are in privileged position playing in the NRL so we need to take advantage of that and make as much of a positive difference as we can.

    "As much as we want to encourage participant and grow the game, we also need to be educating kids on the other side of playing which has a lot to do with their mental and physical well-being.

    "Hopefully I can have an impact on these kids and inspire them to look after themselves on and off the sporting field."
    Drag Queen likes this.
  5. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Dragons kick off talks with McGregor over next contract
    Michael Chammas Chief Reporter
    Wed 6 Feb 2019, 12:00 PM
    Discussions have begun about extending Paul McGregor’s tenure as St George Illawarra coach beyond the end of this season.

    In a show of faith in the coach, understands the Dragons have decided to begin negotiations with McGregor before a ball has even been kicked, with some at the club hopeful of finalising a deal before St George Illawarra open their campaign against the Cowboys in Townsville on March 16.

    McGregor, who is off contract at the end of this year, was under enormous pressure following his team’s mid-season slump last season but he may have done enough in a gallant run through the finals to secure his future.

    While the Dragons believe McGregor is the right man to lead the club beyond 2019, it has been suggested by some at the club that perhaps they should wait eight to 10 weeks into the season before extending his term.

    It’s expected McGregor’s contract extension, and the timing of when it is signed, will be a talking point at the club’s next board meeting.

    McGregor, who began his NRL coaching career with the Dragons in 2014, will eclipse Nathan Brown as the longest serving coach in the joint venture’s history if he remains at the helm beyond this year.

    The former NSW and Australian representative has an impressive record when it comes to the first half of seasons, however the criticism of the Dragons coach has been a tendency for his team to fall away as they approach the pressure-cooker matches heading into the playoffs.

    The Dragons won 12 of their first 15 games in 2018, rocketing to premiership favouritism on the back of the newly formed halves combination of Ben Hunt and Gareth Widdop.

    While the Dragons won just four of their last 11 games, their playoff win over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium with an injury-ravaged squad was one of the most inspired performances of the Telstra Premiership season.

    They lost a cliffhanger the following weekend to Souths but injuries to Widdop and Jack de Belin hampered their chances at winning through to the preliminary final.

    Last year wasn’t the only season the Dragons have capitulated after a strong start. They won six of their first seven games in 2017 (finished ninth) and eight of their first 11 games in 2015 (finished 8th).

    The Dragons have lost a number of players over the off-season, but the acquisition of Corey Norman and Korbin Sims has them in a strong position to challenge for a premiership in McGregor’s sixth season in charge.
  6. Drag Queen

    Drag Queen Bench

    May 17, 2017
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  7. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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  8. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Power Meri documentary screened to Dragons juniors
    Wed 6 Feb 2019, 01:41 PM

    St George Illawarra girls and boys junior representative players attended a screening of the documentary Power Meri, which tells the story of the first women’s Papua New Guinea national team.

    Power Meri director Joanna Lester, presented the film to Dragons players at the University of Wollongong. Lester was able to discuss the themes of the film with the group, examining the similarities and differences between Australian and PNG cultures.

    The film covers the birth of the PNG Orchids (the country's first national women's rugby league team), their journey to the Rugby League World Cup, and how women playing rugby league is changing lives and attitudes in PNG. The film also explores the broader themes of the rise of women's rugby league, the challenges faced by female players, social media abuse of elite athletes, and women's empowerment through sport. It stars the well known Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns who featured throughout the World Cup.

    Power Meri Documentry Trailer

    The film was released recently through film festivals and demand-driven cinema and community screenings, and has been embraced by Australian and PNG audiences, including male and female NRL players from several clubs. Producers are organising another round of Australia and Pacific screenings, and releasing the film in New Zealand and the UK, in early 2019.

    Power Meri is screening on Wednesday 6 March at selected cinemas including in Wollongong, Shellharbour and Hurstville. Tickets must be purchased online by Sunday 24 February at:
  9. Drag Queen

    Drag Queen Bench

    May 17, 2017
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    Says a lot. The rest has been deleted.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
  10. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Junior representatives squads announced
    Wed 6 Feb 2019, 12:37 PM

    The St George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers have finalised their Under-18s SG Ball, Under-18s Tarsha Gale Cup and Under-16s Harold Matthews squads for season 2019.

    This Saturday 9 February St George SG Ball and Harold Matthews will take on Balmain, while the Tarsha Gale squad faces Wests Tigers, all at Mascot Oval. Illawarra Steelers SG Ball, Tarsha Gale and Harold Matthews will all play Cronulla at Southern Cross Group Stadium. See game times below:

    St George V Balmain and Wests Tigers (Tarsha Gale)

    • 9.00am - Tarsha Gale
    • 10.30am - Harold Matthews
    • 12.00pm - SG Ball
    Illawarra Steelers V Cronulla

    • 10.15am - Tarsha Gale
    • 12.00pm - Harold Matthews
    • 1.30pm - SG Ball
    St George SG Ball squad
    • Angus Blackmore
    • Hayden Budd
    • Laken Caldwell
    • Josh Cannard
    • Dallas Collins
    • Soakimi Fakaua
    • Tyler Field
    • Aaron Johnson
    • Jacob Kiraz
    • Carson Lutau
    • Jordan McGrath
    • Isaac Morris
    • Rahim Mundine
    • Daniel Musolino
    • Ryan Papas
    • Spiro Psiroukis
    • Declan Purcell
    • Jye Studdon
    • Epeli Suknaivalu
    • Brendon Tapuai
    • Stevenson Upulasi
    • Braxton Wallace
    • Nikau Wrathall
    Illawarra Steelers' SG Ball squad
    • Talatau Amone
    • Kane Ball
    • Zane Boersma
    • Josh Coric
    • Blake Dowel
    • Mathew Feagai
    • Max Feagai
    • Oscar Fitzpatrick
    • Duke Grant
    • Billy Hayburn
    • Zach Herring
    • Sam Hooper
    • Connor Muhleisen
    • Aamon Munro
    • Oliver Parrish
    • Sean Payne
    • Aaron Schoupp
    • Jackson Shereb
    • Tyrell Sloan
    • Treigh Stewart
    • Jayden Sullivan
    • Cooper Tunbridge
    • Jack Walsh
    St George Tarsha Gale Cup squad
    • Ciara Aigea
    • Rhonda-Rose Chambers
    • Carly Drury
    • Ryshe Fasavalu-Fa'amausili
    • Holly Gatt
    • Reva Hakopa
    • Filomina Hanisi
    • Hana Herlihy
    • Haylee Hifo
    • Camelia Lotoa'atu
    • Sela Masila
    • Rebecca Mose
    • Sereana Naitokatoka
    • Taina Naividi
    • Charkyl Ngamotu
    • Ema Rainima
    • Anastacia Shum-Cottrell
    • Mareva Swann
    • Myah Tahan
    • Ana Tohi-Hiku
    • Leanne Toomalatai
    • Elizabeth Vakacoa
    Illawarra Steelers' Tarsha Gale Cup squad
    • Eleni Amone
    • Emily Andrews
    • Teagan Berry
    • Keele Brown
    • Meg Buchanan
    • Ella Conlon
    • Georgie Fitzpatrick
    • Tiana Graham
    • Mikayla Kidd
    • Nancy Misa
    • Sophie Morris
    • Taneisha Roberts
    • Riley Scott
    • Michaela Scutts
    • Shannon Scutts
    • Maddi Singleton
    • Ula-Mari Time-Cribb
    • Viena Tinao
    • Chantel Tugaga
    • Rhiannon Tungai
    • Olivia Vale
    • Alex Wallace
    • Maddi Weatherall
    St George Harold Matthews squad
    • Hayden Blom
    • Anwar Chahine
    • Mitchell Chester
    • Nathaniel Cowan
    • Jonathan Delinicolis
    • Koby Douglas
    • Eli Ferguson
    • Thomas Flynn
    • Rhys Haddad
    • Max Kovacic
    • Jayden Maakaroun
    • Gerald Maui
    • Lucas Merrick
    • Caleb Navale
    • Ricardo Oloapu
    • Fred Perfrement
    • Sam Samani
    • Jayden Samirani
    • Jackson Sly
    • Patrick Taukafa
    • Jesse Waite
    • Lachlan Woodger
    Illawarra Steelers' Harold Matthews squad
    • Liam Arnold
    • Dilan Asanoski
    • Trey Barlow
    • Callum Cecil
    • Louie Chilver
    • Liam Constable
    • Joe Duggan
    • Adam Haddara
    • Jye Hendrie
    • Isaiah Kennedy
    • Ben Lavender
    • Julian Lee
    • Viliami Mahe
    • Declan Manago
    • Brandon Morkos
    • Toby Peters
    • Edward Pierce
    • Jarvis Polley
    • Max Riolo
    • Coleby Smith
    • Will Starling
    Jacob Webster
  11. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Lomax in no hurry for No. 1
    Local Sport
    ON HOLD: Dragons youngster Zac Lomax is happy to put his long-term fullback ambitions on hold if it means regular NRL action. Picture: Adam McLean.

    DRAGONS sensation Zac Lomax makes no secret of his desire to one day make his mark at fullback, but he's not rushing that shift just four games into his NRL career.

    The 19-year-old was a standout junior in the No. 1 jumper, but made his NRL debut on the wing last season before finishing the year in the centres.

    That three-game cameo, that included two finals appearances, came after regular right centre Euan Aitken injured his hamstring.

    He's likely to return there in 2019, with Lomax tipped to fill the void left by the retirement of stalwart Jason Nightingale on the flank.

    It's a role he's happy to play in the interim as he continues his top-grade apprenticeship.

    “Fullback would be my favourite position but as a young bloke you've got to understand the demands of the NRL and the toll it can take on your body and mentally,” he said.

    “I came through the junior ranks playing fullback and having my hands on the ball a little bit more than you do out on the edge.

    “I'd like to play there down the track but to be thrown in at fullback at a younger age is a bit more of an ask. Hopefully one day but you can only do what's best for the team at the moment.”

    That has meant splitting his time between centre and wing through the preseason, the latter proving a learning curve.

    “I've been training half and half, a lot at centre and a lot at wing, and they're two completely different positions these days,” he said.

    “I'm more confident at centre than I am at wing so I've been trying to learn the game as a winger a little bit better.

    “There's some quality centres here that have been good for the last three-four years so the spot's not going to be given to any of us.

    “I'd like to be able to play centre but, at the same time, you've got to do what’s best for the team and whether Mary [coach Paul McGregor] wants me to play wing or centre I'm happy.”

    As for who earns the No. 1 for the opening round of the season, Lomax says it remains a mystery with incumbent Matt Dufty, skipper Gareth Widdop and new recruit Corey Norman all solid options for McGregor.

    "There's obviously a fair few players there fighting for the No. 1 position,” Lomax said.

    “I couldn't tell you who's going to be there, obviously Duft had a good end to the season last year and Gaz has played for his country at No. 1 and he's our skipper.

    “That's obviously up to Mary and whatever's best for the team, but I'm really confident that whoever gets that spot will do the job.”

  12. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    CC Babcoq to host Lance Thompson charity night
    Fri 8 Feb 2019, 12:57 AM

    CC Babcoq and its owners, brothers Harry and Mario Kapoulas, will host a Lance Thompson charity night on Wednesday, February 27.

    In August 2018, former St George and Cronulla great Lance Thompson tragically passed away at just 40 years old, leaving behind his beloved children who are in need of ongoing financial support.

    The inaugural CC Babcoq ingredients and charity night will donate 10 per cent of their takings on the night to support Thompson’s children.

    The night will cost $95 per head and will include a specialty cocktail, two starters, two mains, two sides and dessert.

    The Kapoulas' brothers have been St George Illawarra Dragons fans their entire lives.

    "We grew up watching Lance play and he was legendary," Harry said.

    "We were all very saddened when he passed away. It was obvious that we would support the charity set up for his children, who desperately need financial help.

    "On the night one ingredient (tomatoes) will be chosen and every dish made will include this ingredient."

    The specialty cocktail will also include tomatoes on the night. Moving forward, the cause and the ingredient will change each month.

    "The ingredients and charity night is designed to encourage the community to try something different while supporting a worthy cause," Harry said. "We hope that the locals will get behind us in making these nights a success."

    To enquire about the ingredients and charity night, contact Harry Kapoulas on 0422 932 600.

    There is also an upcoming charity luncheon for Lance Thompson's children. For more details, contact Emma Bailey on 0416 287 844 or via [email protected].

    To make a booking, email CC Babcoq via [email protected] or call 0420 955 844.
  13. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Dragons commence annual pre-season community blitz
    Thu 7 Feb 2019, 05:00 PM

    The Dragons this week commenced a month-long annual pre-season community blitz throughout the St George, Illawarra and Central West of New South Wales regions.

    The Dragons' 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership squad will travel to 35 schools between them and host a dozen rugby league clinics over the course of February.

    Dragons Community and NRL development officers with the support of a variety of NRL Women's Premiership, Jersey Flegg and NRL development players as well as club ambassadors Matt Cooper, Sam Bremner and Kezie Apps, the Dragons will visit almost 100 schools overall.

    Hundreds of kids will be able to meet their favourite Dragons players including Tariq Sims, Zac Lomax, Matt Dufty, Tyson Frizell and Ben Hunt as well as new recruits Korbin Sims and Corey Norman.

    The Dragons will participate in education lessons with students, focusing on the importance of respect and cyber right, resilience and overall wellbeing.

    Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop visited Thirroul Public School on Thursday as part of the community blitz.

    "To give back to the local community and get out to the schools throughout our region is very rewarding for the playing group," Widdop said.

    "Everyone in the St George, Illawarra and in the Central West of New South Wales love their footy, and I hope they take plenty out the important messages we present to them during these visits."

    The Dragons' community blitz coincides with the beginning of the junior rugby league season. To find out how you can get involved in either junior league or participating in an after-school non-contact program, click on the links.
  14. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Lomax looms as likely wing option as he waits for No.1 goal
    Brad Walter Senior Reporter
    Fri 8 Feb 2019, 08:38 AM
    Teen sensation Zac Lomax is prepared to bide his time on the wing to be part of a Dragons backline brimming with depth and versatility.

    Lomax, who played four NRL matches for St George Illawarra last season and earned selection as a centre for the Prime Minister’s XIII and Junior Kangaroos, grew up playing fullback but is third choice at best in his preferred position behind Gareth Widdop and Matt Dufty.

    The talented 19-year-old is also battling Euan Aitken, who was last year touted as a NSW Origin contender, and Samoa international Tim Lafai for a centre berth so is likely to be chosen on the wing as Dragons coach Paul McGrgeor tries to accommodate his star backs.

    "I would like to play centre but at the same time you have just got to do what’s best for the team and whether Mary wants me to play wing or centre, I am happy to play wherever he decides," Lomax said.

    "There are some quality centres there at the Dragons and they have been good the last three or four years they have been there so the spot is not going to be given to any of us."

    Dragons rising star Zac Lomax. :copyright:Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos
    Lomax has been training at both positions, with the retirement of Jason Nightingale and Nene Macdonald’s departure to North Queensland opening up a spot on the wing if he is not selected in the centres.

    At 190cm, his height would be beneficial on the wing but he is more comfortable playing centre.

    "They are two completely different positions these days and I guess a winger can play a role sort of like a front-rower at the back end of the field taking a lot of hard carries, whereas at centre you tend to get a lot more early ball and you are just trying to beat your opposite centre one-on-one and find a quick play-the-ball," he said.

    Kerr’s push to change Indigenous misperception

    McGregor, who played 14 Origins, three Tests and more than 150 first-grade matches for the Illawarra Steelers and the Dragons as a centre, has been working closely with Lomax during the off-season.

    "He has just simplified my game," Lomax said.

    "I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself going into a game and I tend to try to do too much on a play whereas he would just prefer me to find my feet and play the ball as quick as I can."
  15. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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  16. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    You're not in trouble, Josh, you're in Indigenous All Stars
    Brad Walter Senior Reporter
    Thu 7 Feb 2019, 06:01 PM
    When rookie St George Illawarra prop Josh Kerr was called to coach Paul McGregor’s office after being involved in a training mishap that left star hooker Cameron McInnes with a suspected fractured ring finger, he feared the worst.

    "I walked up to the room and Mary said, ‘sit down’. I was playing b-ball with the boys and that day Cam McInnes tried to tackle me and he compound dislocated his finger so I was thinking, ‘oh, shit’. My head was falling off already," Kerr said.

    When McGregor congratulated him on making the Indigenous All Stars team as a replacement for Gold Coast captain Ryan James, he initially didn’t believe him.

    Then the tears started as the 22-year-old forward realised he was about to fulfil a childhood dream of representing his culture, achieving the honour before he had played an NRL match.

    That was last Friday and on Tuesday, as he prepared to address an assembly at Gwynneville Public School as part of St George Illawarra's pre-season community blitz, Kerr said he was still "going tingly just talking about it".

    Dragons forward Josh Kerr.
    "This is such a big thing for the indigenous community and our families because it brings everyone together," he said. "I never thought that I would ever get the chance or opportunity. This is like a dream of mine, I just can’t believe this is happening."

    A proud Ngugi, Noonuckle and Geopul man of the Quandamooka nation, Kerr understands the significance of the All Stars match to the Indigenous community after a recent trip home to Stradbroke Island.

    Telling his family he had been selected in next Friday night’s match against New Zealand Maori at AAMI Park was the proudest moment of his career.

    "I called up the old lady first and she was screaming and crying," Kerr said. "The old man was a bit more like, ‘it’s about bloody time’, but everyone was just so happy. All the women were in tears and dad was just loving it.

    "To be able to represent my culture and tell the indigenous side of the family, just to message or call my nanas and tell them the news … they were just over the moon."

    Despite being yet to make his Telstra Premiership debut, Kerr feels confident he will be up to the task in a side light on for forward depth after the loss of James, Manly second-rower Joel Thompson and Brisbane utility Jack Bird through injury.

    "To not even have played NRL and then be called into something like this, it is a shock. I feel ready for it, I feel very confident,” he said.

    "You have got all your mob out there and you just have your heart on your sleeve so I am looking forward to it.

    "I don’t know what else could top it. Maybe only one day to play for Australia. That is a dream of mine too."

    All the women were in tears and dad was just loving it.

    Josh Kerr on telling his family
    After playing for the Queensland Murri Under 16s against a NSW Koori team in a curtain-raiser to the 2012 All Stars match on the Gold Coast, he knows what to expect and he has met most of his teammates during last year’s Indigenous leadership camp at Redfern.

    "What these games do for cultures, it is something so special. That is why I love rugby league," he said.

    "I have gone to a few games when I was younger and that’s when you see the crowd and how passionate they are. There was nothing but smiles on people’s faces. It is the oldest surviving culture in the world so we have got to keep that going."

    As for McInnes, he has recovered and is back in training.

    "He showed us his finger and it was just white but he is like Wolverine," Kerr said. "I can’t believe how quickly he healed. He is very, very tough."
  17. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    NRL 2019: New recruit Norman out to repay Dragons faith
    Local Sport
    NEW DIGS: Corey Norman is embracing a fresh start with the Dragons in 2019. Picture: NRL Photos
    THE concept of double-jeopardy is a well-known legal principle – you can’t be tried for the same crime twice. In rugby league, particularly in the social media age, that principle doesn’t always apply.

    It’s something Dragons recruit Corey Norman is well aware of after an unflattering video, that was first circulated in 2016, resurfaced just a week into his stint with his new club.

    The NRL Integrity Unit confirmed it had considered, and dealt with, the matter when it arose three years ago and wouldn’t be sanctioning the 28-year-old a second time.

    Still, Norman admits it wasn’t a good look.

    “I really felt more sorry for Mary [coach Paul McGregor], the boys and the fans,” he said.

    “It was a new start and I didn’t want to bring that drama here. Unfortunately it came here and I made sure I took the right steps straight away.

    “I let Mary and the club know straight away so we could all move on from it. I dealt with three years ago so I had the full support of the club an that was big relief.”

    It came as the Dylan Napa sex-tape scandal brought more negative headlines to the game in an off-season described as a “train wreck” by ARLC chairman Peter Beattie.

    It was also an unwelcome reminder of Norman’s party-boy reputation that saw many view his recruitment as a gamble on the Dragons behalf.

    He hasn’t found any trouble in the three years since that turbulent 2016 season, but he accepts the fact the video’s re-emergence has jogged some memories.

    “It’s disappointing to see it all brought back up again,” he said.

    “Everyone makes mistakes it’s abut how you learn from them and I’ve definitely learned from them and moved on.

    “I’ve grown up and matured, all the things that come with age. It was annoying more than anything that it resurfaced but it is what it is.”

    Whatever your thoughts, it’s impossible to deny the prodigious talent that makes him as lethal a playmaker as any when switched on.

    It’s what made the Dragons so keen on his signature in the wake of Gareth Widdop’s shock decision to depart for the English Super League in 2020.

    Norman was in his own state of limbo after being deemed surplus to requirements by Parramatta just a year after spearheading their charge to a top four finish in 2017.

    It was a steep fall for the Eels in 2018 but Norman, who still had a year left to run on his contract, insists he wasn’t left bitter by his departure.

    “It’s been no secret that I wasn’t in Parra’s plans moving forward and that’s football,” he said.

    “I’ve had some good times at Parra and grown so close to the boys there and the coaching staff. It was a bit of a weird situation but it was one of those things, when it comes from the top, things change.

    “I wasn’t bitter or anything like that, I just wanted to move forward and get on with it really. The Dragons sort of popped up out of nowhere and it was a bit of a no-brainer.

    “Speaking to Mary he’s been pretty keen to get me down here for a while now and it’s pleasing to have a coach that keen to have you.

    “I spoke to Hunty [Ben Hunt] and Mary spoke to Gaz [Widdop] and they were pretty keen to have me on board as well. It’s such a quality side here so it worked out really well.”

    His arrival in Wollongong was just another example of how fast the NRL recruitment merry-go-round can spin, but it could hardly have worked out better for Norman or the club.

    With Widdop still on board, and Ben Hunt coming into his second year, McGregor will have three elite playmakers at his disposal in 2019.

    For Norman, who’s had multiple halves partners in his five years with the Eels, it's a chance to go back to his strengths, whether it’s in the No. 6 or at fullback.

    “We’ve been changing [positions] around a lot and that’s the beauty of having trials, no doubt we’ll be changing around there,” he said.

    “I’ve said before my preference is to play five-eighth but I’ve played a lot of fullback as well. The biggest thing for us will be getting that balance right.

    “Benny [Hunt] complements my game really well, he brings my running game out. I’ve probably lacked that the last few years so I’m looking forward to getting that back.

    “When you come into a quality side your role becomes really easy, so I’m just looking forward to really simplifying my role and playing the best footy I can play.”
  18. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Backing of senior Dragons clinched Norman move
    Brad Walter Senior Reporter
    Fri 8 Feb 2019, 04:01 PM
    Corey Norman wanted to ensure his new teammates were comfortable with him joining the club before finalising a move from Parramatta, so it was frustrating he had to apologise for the fallout from a leaked video in his first week of training with the Dragons.

    The St George Illawarra club is known to perform extensive due diligence before signing players, with club stalwart Craig Young – an ex-detective – in charge of integrity, so officials were aware of the video’s existence and Norman had already been punished by the NRL three years ago.

    After serving an eight-match ban and being hit with a $20,000 fine in 2016, Norman has steered clear of off-field trouble and was seeking a fresh start with the Dragons after a horror 2018 season with the Eels, in which they finished last and it was made clear he had no future at the club.

    “I didn’t want to bring that drama here,” Norman said.

    “That was three years ago, my punishment was eight games and a fine so it has been dealt with and I have moved on. For it to pop up like that, I just felt sorry for the boys, the coaching staff and the fans.

    Why Norman sought approval from Dragons stars

    “I rang the club straight away, I gave Mary [coach Paul McGregor] and the team management a heads-up and I gave the boys a heads-up as well. I guess that’s the world we live in these days, as we can see now. As players, we have just got to be careful.”

    The release of the video in mid-January meant it wasn’t until Norman’s fourth week of training at WIN Stadium before the star playmaker was introduced to the media as a St George Illawarra player.

    In between, he has been focused on building relationships with a new group of players, trying to determine where he will fit into one of the strongest spines in the Telstra Premiership and regaining the form that him in consideration for Queensland Origin selection in 2017.

    Backing from Hunt and Widdop
    Norman had played alongside Ben Hunt in Brisbane’s 2009 under 20s team and at NRL level before his departure for Parramatta in 2014, but besides the halfback he knew only a handful of Dragons players.

    However, the 28-year-old was aware St George Illawarra had developed into a tight-knit group under McGregor so he felt it was crucial to gain the endorsement of Hunt and captain Gareth Widdop before quitting the final year of his contract with the Eels.

    “I didn’t want to come down here and step on anyone’s toes or make people uncomfortable,” Norman said. “Getting the OK from the boys made it easier. That’s just what I felt was right.

    “When I got the approval of Benny that he’d be keen and I spoke to Mary, and he spoke to Gaz and Gaz was keen to get me down here as well, that was a relief and sped up the process a bit.

    “They’re a good bunch of blokes down here and they are pretty tight, I noticed that straight away. I am just trying to find my role in the team.”

    Dragons welcome Corey Norman

    Five-eighth or fullback?
    Hunt and Widdop were one of the leading halves pairings in the NRL last season, McGregor rates Cameron McInnes as the game’s No.1 hooker and fullback Matt Dufty was a revelation in his first full season of first grade but there will be a reshuffle to accommodate Norman.

    McGregor asked him about playing fullback before he signed but he has also spoken to Widdop about making a positional switch from five-eighth in a move that suggests Dufty could find himself on the bench or in the Intrust Super Premiership.

    Hunt can also play hooker if McInnes is unavailable or needs a spell.

    “I asked where I was going to play and told them that my preferred position would be five-eighth, and they said would you be open to playing fullback as well,” Norman said.

    “I said whatever is good for the team and I think they spoke to Gareth and he was the same - he’d prefer to play five-eighth but is open to playing fullback as well so we will just see what happens. You will probably see me and Gaz at the back at some stage.

    “We’ve all been swapping around at training and there is just so much depth there. I think that is the exciting thing, with the depth and the variation of how we can move everyone around.

    “We have got to be on our game every week because the talent here is very good so we are all playing for spots.”

    Expectations of fans
    Norman’s three-year deal ensures that St George Illawarra already have a long-term replacement for Widdop, who is returning home to England to play for Warrington in 2020.

    However, as Hunt found in his first season with the club last year, Dragons fans can be demanding and the club’s playmakers are under constant pressure and scrutiny.

    “It’s a bit harsher down in Sydney compared to up in Brisbane,” Norman said. “I thought it was a bit unnecessary and Benny copped a bit of flak when he shouldn’t have but he has dealt with that and it is a new season so no doubt he will have a cracker this year.

    “I have played with Benny at the Broncos in under 20s and first grade. We played plenty of good games together when Locky [Darren Lockyer] and Wal [Peter Wallace] were out. I think we just complement each other’s games a lot.

    “I can help him out organising and he will start running, and he will do the same for me. I think Benny really helps my running game so that will be good. You have got Gaz there as well and he is a world class player so we are trying to get that balance.

    “I’m coming into a quality side so I don’t have to do anything spectacular or anything like that. I have just got to do my role and do it well within the team. When you have got a quality side like this your role simplifies within the team and that makes it a lot easier.”

    What went wrong at Parramatta
    Norman no longer wants to dwell on how things turned so bad for him and the Eels team last season as he has now moved on.

    However, Norman admits he had been on the outer since early last season and the constant struggle to win a game took its toll.

    “It definitely wasn’t a season that was up to scratch for me or the Parramatta Eels as well, so I definitely want to come out and have a lot better year than I did last year.

    “Only winning four games last year was pretty bad and I think you don’t realise how tough it is mentally until you step away. Looking back, it was really draining and one of the toughest seasons I have had.

    “As a player, I am still stumped. Sometimes you can try too hard and it gets even worse. That was probably the case with a lot of us but that is behind me now.

    “From early in the season it was no secret that I wasn’t in their plans after this year. I am glad we could all get it sorted out so Brad and the boys can get on with their season, and I am down here gelling with a new team so it worked out well.”
  19. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Dragons star Bremner announces pregnancy
    Alicia Newton Reporter
    Fri 8 Feb 2019, 05:33 PM
    Australian Jillaroos star Sam Bremner has announced she is expecting her first child in August and revealed the bizarre way she found out about her pregnancy.

    The Jillaroos fullback took to Instagram to deliver the news to her followers on Friday afternoon and later told it was international teammate Ali Brigginshaw who spiritually encouraged her to take a pregnancy test.

    "Ali was so random, she called me to say she'd had a dream that I was sitting next to her by the pool and I told her I was four weeks pregnant," Bremner said of a conversation she had with Brigginshaw last December.

    "I reacted saying maybe it was a premonition? I believe in all that stuff. Later that day I went past a Chemist Warehouse and picked up a pregnancy test. I had no symptoms and it come back positive.

    "I was over the moon. Wayne wasn't home yet but I was running around screaming with my dog."

    Bremner, 27, played one game for the club in the inaugural NRLW competition last season before succumbing to a toe injury.

    The St George Illawarra representative was appointed Jillaroos captain by Brad Donald in October before she withdrew from the Trans-Tasman Test against the Kiwi Ferns after failing to overcome the setback.

    The pregnancy news will keep Bremner on the sidelines for the Harvey Norman National Championships and Holden State of Origin clash, while a second year in the NRLW also appears unlikely.

    She aims to return to the field for the international Nines competition in October but will not place any pressure on herself to rush back.

    "It's one of those things you can't time well and with our calendar year you're almost playing all the time," Bremner said.

    "I want to be involved for the next World Cup in 2021 and I couldn't be pregnant that year.

    "I really wanted a family. I've thought previously that having a family would end my footy career but it wasn't until I spoke to other players and had a chat with Brad Donald last year about family that I realised I can do both.

    "I'm lucky to have the teammates, coaching staff and family I do."

    Bremner joins Nakia Davis-Welsh as the second player from the successful Jillaroos World Cup squad to announce her pregnancy in recent months.
  20. getsmarty

    getsmarty Referee

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Dragons keen to re-sign Dufty, despite lack of No.1 assurances
    Christian NicolussiFebruary 7, 2019 — 8.32pm

    St George Illawarra are determined to re-sign Matt Dufty until the end of 2021, even though the pint-sized fullback is unlikely to retain his No. 1 jersey this season.

    Dufty and South Sydney's Alex Johnston were two names quickly linked to Ben Barba's vacated North Queensland No. 1 jersey, largely because they were unlikely to start in their preferred positions and both came off contract with the Dragons and South Sydney respectively.

    Cowboys officials continue to deal with the devastation caused by the Townsville floods and are in no hurry to search for a fullback replacement.

    The Dragons will not let Dufty link with the Cowboys or any rival club this season, and have been in talks about the local junior extending his time in the Red V.

    When the club were keen to lure Corey Norman to the club, which meant Gareth Widdop became a genuine fullback option, Dufty was kept in the loop the whole time.

    There was good interest from Leeds in the Super League, but the Dragons made it known they wanted to lock up Dufty for the long term.

    Dufty is only 23, and the Dragons know he has at least another decade of first grade ahead of him.

    Should coach Paul McGregor forge ahead with Widdop at fullback, Dufty will have the chance to learn from the English international.

    Zac Lomax, who made his debut in round 10 and played the final three games of last year, also grew up playing fullback, but has one eye on a starting centre spot this season.

    Lomax said Dufty had a great season while Widdop had played fullback for England and was the club's skipper.

    "Duff is looking fit at the moment, he's put on a bit of size, he's very fast, and he has a lot of skill, a good passing game and [he's a ] confident fella. He won't be taking a backward step, and I'm confident wherever he's asked to play he'll put in a good performance,'' Lomax said.

    "Fullback would be my favourite position. But as a young bloke you have to understand the demands of NRL and coming into the game, and the toll it can take on your body and mentally. If I'm to play centre or wing I'm happy wherever.

    "I've been training a lot at centre and a lot at wing.

    "They are completely different positions these days. The winger can play a role like a front-rower at the back end of your field taking a lot of hard carries.

    "At centre you tend to get a lot of early ball and try to beat your opposite centre one on one and try and get quick play-the-balls.

    "I’m more confident at centre than wing. I’ve been trying to learn the game as a winger a little bit better than I am.''

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