Discussion in 'St George Illawarra Dragons' started by getsmarty, Nov 29, 2016.
Pat its on the dragons web site.
All in millward report
Have you seen him play samy?
I can't seem to find it Samy. Do you have a name so I can have a look ?
Leeson Ah Mau to depart Dragons
St George Illawarra front-rower Leeson Ah Mau has announced that he'll depart the Dragons at the completion of his contract at season's end.
About halfway through Ian Millward appears.
Hunt opens up on demotion and Origin II criticism
Queensland's Ben Hunt talks to Katie Brown about being benched for State of Origin III and how he dealt with social media backlash after his game two performance.
2018 squad: Ben Hunt (2022), Blake Lawrie (2019), Cameron McInnes (2018), Darren Nicholls (2019), Euan Aitken (2020), Gareth Widdop (2021), Hame Sele (2018), Jack De Belin (2020), Jacob Host (2020), Jai Field (2019), James Graham (2020), Jason Nightingale (2018), Jeremy Latimore (2018), Josh Kerr (2018), Kurt Mann (2019), Leeson Ah Mau (2018), Luciano Leilua (2018), Matt Dufty (2018), Mitchell Allgood (2018), Nene Macdonald (2019), Patrick Herbert (2018), Paul Vaughan (2021), Reece Robson (2019), Reuben Garrick (2018), Jordan Pereira (2018), Steven Marsters (2019), Tariq Sims (2019), Tim Lafai (2020), Tristan Sailor (2019), Tyson Frizell (2020), Zac Lomax (2019)
Off-contract: Leeson Ah Mau, Reuben Garrick, Patrick Herbert, Jeremy Latimore, Jason Nightingale, Ash Nisbet, Jordan Pereira, Hame Sele, Mitchell Allgood
Coach: Paul McGregor (until 2019)
New deal: Cameron McInnes (until 2021), Luciano Leilua (until 2020), Matt Dufty (until 2019), Joe Lovodua (until 2019), Josh Kerr (until 2019)
Leaving: Joel Thompson (pre-season 2018 to Manly until 2019), Leeson Ah Mau (to Warriors from 2019 to 2021)
Live he 196 cm. And 110kg.
He is development squad next year with full training him will get stronger.
He is quick for a big unit.
He killing it in he age group.
He has made a big step to leave qld and move here full time.
If given time he sould make it but very early.
As Millward says within 2 years he will be ready to push for nrl.
Qld under 18 rep so should go well
Smarty put up for you dq
He sounds promising. I will keep an eye out for him and watch his development with interest.
Thanks for info mate...
STATE OF ORIGIN
Hunt's plot to regain Queensland's No. 7
Tue 10 Jul 2018, 06:01 PM
Hungry to win back his Queensland starting position, Ben Hunt believes leading St George Illawarra to a premiership is the best way to regain the Maroons No.7 jersey.
First up, on Wednesday night at Suncorp Stadium, Hunt says he is determined to provide energy and zip for the Maroons against NSW in the potentially crucial No.14 jersey.
The 28-year-old Dragons playmaker lost the starting gig to Daly Cherry-Evans for not being able to take control and ice the game in the latter stages of the 18-14 loss to NSW in game two of the Holden State of Origin series in Sydney.
"I am extremely hungry to get back there," Hunt told NRL.com
"Halfback is the position I really enjoy playing and to get a taste of it is just the tip of it. I want more at this level.
"The first goal is to win a competition and I think we have put ourselves in a good position at the Dragons to go deep into the finals.
"That is something that is not out of our reach, and as a halfback I need to have a big role in that.
"That is also what the selectors and Kevvie [Walters] need to see from me, to play in the big games again and do the job."
Hunt will vie with Michael Morgan, Cherry-Evans and Ash Taylor into the future for the Queensland halfback's role.
State of Origin III by the numbers
The injured Morgan has the advantage of winning the 2015 grand final for the Cowboys in the halves and a World Cup for Australia.
Cherry-Evans is now the incumbent and a big performance at Suncorp Stadium will only assist his claims in 2019, while Taylor still has work to do to get himself at the top of the list.
Hunt was selected in the opening two Origin matches because he was the form half in the NRL.
Premiership-winning halves get another tick next to their names when selectors sit down to pick representative teams, and Cherry-Evans and Morgan have already achieved that.
Dragons halfback Ben Hunt. Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos
"You can say you are playing well in all these [NRL] games, but if you get a premiership beside your name it certainly helps in the selectors books," Hunt said.
"That's why I want to show that I can get back out there and do it and get the Dragons into the grand final."
Hunt leaned on those closest to him when he was demoted to the bench, including his parents, wife and club coach Paul McGregor.
"Mum is always going to tell you that you are the best in the world and I had some good chats to my dad... and my wife loves getting stuck into the critics and supporting me," Hunt said.
"I had to settle down and let the waters settle and realise that I am still part of the Queensland team and to be grateful.
"My dad [Geoff] and Mary [McGregor] were both similar with their messages. They said to believe in myself and keep doing what I have been. The big message from Mary was that I will always be his halfback and he won't be moving me...unless I play pretty ordinary.
Hunt opens up on demotion and Origin II criticism
"He said 'we believe in what you are doing here mate and we want you to be the halfback long term."
Hunt was the target of criticism by former Queensland players and fans on social media for his game-two performance and he understands that is all part of being an NRL player.
"It is obviously there and there is nothing you can do about it. The best thing I have done is pretend it is not there and get away from it," he said of the keyboard warriors.
"They don't bother me anymore. Three, four or five years ago they might have but you get [criticism] that much now that you don't really care."
The bench utility position has been filled admirably in recent years for the Maroons by Morgan and Cooper Cronk, and Hunt expects more minutes than the handful he received in game three last year.
Queensland v NSW: State of Origin III preview
"Kevvie has told me I will get on at some stage in the first half. Whenever Cooper and Michael would get on the field they didn't hold back. They went after it and did their job and weren't worried they weren't playing half, five-eighth or fullback."
When the dust settles after the Origin series, his focus will be firmly on steering the Dragons to the grand final.
"We are positioned really well," Hunt said.
"I remember when I first made the grand final with the Broncos in the 2015 I didn't really believe we had the team to do it. I didn't know because I had never played in one.
"Once we got there I realised what a good team we had and I have that feeling with the Dragons now. It feels like we are really building something.
Walters' final words ahead of Origin III
"If we can keep improving we can give the title a real shake. This is a massive part of the calendar year for any team that has a lot of players in Origin. We've got most of our forward pack in the NSW side and that is going to take a bit of sting out of it but it is the same for a lot of other teams."
Dragons fans will be pleased to know Hunt is carrying no baggage with him about his recent representative hardships. He mindset is clear.
"I have always been fairly happy and easy going in life, but I'd definitely say at the moment I'm in the best head space I've been in," he said.
"In our game things can change in days... seconds. You've just got to enjoy it while you can and make the most of it."
St George Illawarra Dragons forward Tariq Sims finally earns State of Origin chance
Finally: Dragons forward Tariq Sims will make his State of Origin debut for NSW in game three on Wednesday night. Picture: James Brickwood
Paul McGregor has predicted that Tariq Sims will take to State of Origin football in the same manner he has dominated rival forwards for St George Illawarra this season.
Sims will finally make his Origin debut for NSW as Queensland attempt to avoid being clean swept for the first time since 2000 in game three in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old had been named as 18th man for the first two games of the series but will get his chance from the bench at Suncorp Stadium after Blues coach Brad Fittler decided to leave out game two debutant Matt Prior.
Sims’ Dragons teammate Paul Vaughan has been included in the run on side, with the Blues’ forward pack displaying a distinct St George Illawarra flavour with Tyson Frizell and Jack de Belin making up the back row.
And St George Illawarra coach McGregor said Sims had earned his Origin start after being consistently among the Dragons’ best so far this season.
“I’m happy for Taz. Again he’s earned that jumper through his performance throughout the year,” McGregor said.
“I think he’s getting better as the year goes on. He’s certainly come back from the Origin week to week during this period with the right attitude. And he’s been one of our best, if not the best, consistently week to week.
Tariq Sims takes on Dragons teammate Tyson Frizell at NSW training. Picture: AAP Image
“He’s had his set backs along the way as well and some people would have turned away from the game but he turned towards it and fell forward. He’s doing a magnificent job for us and I’m sure he’ll do that same role in whatever opportunity he gets against Queensland.”
Sims has also benefited from the departure of Joel Thompson to Manly before the start of the season, allowing the hulking forward to play a different role for the Dragons.
“I think he wanted the role before Joel left. He actually came to me when Joel left and said I really want that opportunity and I said well, let’s go about earning it,” McGregor said.
“And he’s certainly done that through his pre-season, I thought he had a magnificent pre-season. He’s a big body and the work he does around having that big body gets to what you see on the weekend.
“His trial form wasn’t the best but as soon as it came around to round one he has been the most consistent forward within our club. To get the reward is a good story as well.”
McGregor also said Queensland had defied their own “pick and stick” policy in axing Dragons halfback Ben Hunt to the bench for Origin III.
The Dragons No.7 had led St George Illawarra to the top of the NRL table after 16 rounds but paid the price for an unhappy showing in Origin II with Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans given a chance to end his own Origin exile.
McKinnon's role in de Belin's Origin rise
Brad Walter Senior Reporter
Wed 11 Jul 2018, 08:01 AM
A ringing endorsement from Alex McKinnon helped convince NSW coach Brad Fittler that Jack de Belin was the type of player he wanted in his new look Blues team for this year's State of Origin series.
De Belin, who will again start at lock in Origin III at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night, grew up playing alongside McKinnon at school and for St George Illawarra's under 20s team before the pair made the transition to NRL level at the Dragons in 2011.
They remain close mates and de Belin has little doubt McKinnon would be playing alongside him in the NSW forward pack if his career hadn't been cut short four years ago by a spinal injury which left him a quadriplegic after a tackle in a match for Newcastle against Melbourne.
Now awaiting the birth of his first child with wife Teigan later this year, McKinnon has remained involved with rugby league through various roles with the NRL, Knights and the media, and is considered an astute analyst of the game.
Fittler revealed he regularly used McKinnon as a sounding board and discussed the selection of de Belin with him before choosing the St George Illawarra backrower to start at lock ahead of Test forward Jake Trbojevic.
"I talk to Alex McKinnon a fair bit about footy and he has always had a high opinion of Jack," Fittler told NRL.com. "He said he is tough, he works hard and he does all the stuff coaches want to hear.
"Alex has always had a big wrap on him, and he has most probably been on the cusp for a while, but he sat behind Trent Merrin for a few years at the Dragons so he has had to be patient. I think he is now starting to reach his potential."
NSW Blues lock Jack De Belin. Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos
De Belin attended McKinnon's wedding last October and said his former teammate had been an inspiration to him from the day they started boarding together at St Gregory's College, Campbelltown.
"We have had a fair journey together, we always keep in contact and whenever we get a chance to catch up we do," de Belin said.
"Footy was his life and he was always going to make it. As soon as I went to St Greg's, I could see he was such a talent and I haven't seen many better in terms of mindset and attitude. He was such an unreal trainer and player.
"He was destined for greatness and it was tragically cut short, but when one door closes another one opens, and whatever happens with Macca he always makes the most of his opportunities so you will never see him down and defeated "
What has impressed Fittler and Blues performance coach Hayden Knowles about de Belin is his work ethic and attention to detail in preparing himself for games.
According to Knowles, de Belin is usually the first NSW player in the gym and the last to leave.
"It's like it is just his thing; he has to be the last to leave," Knowles said. "We were at the gym the other day and all the boys walked over to the beach afterwards, but it was like he deliberately waited for everyone to leave, just to do one extra set.
"It is very impressive and I will tell any young kids who come in to first grade that that is why Jack de Belin is here, because of those qualities. Those little things off the field usually show on the field. When everyone is tired and there is one little job to do, it is usually him.
"He is the guy putting the kick pressure on when everyone else's arse is hanging out or he is the one who is first to dive on a loose ball. Those are the little things I look for in training and I have seen it in him in bucket loads."
Blues arrive in enemy territory
Fittler also spoke to St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor about de Belin, as well as the other three Dragons forwards in the NSW squad, and attended a training session at WIN Stadium.
"He is a guy who just gets everything out of himself. It's no surprise he looks the way he does and he plays the way he does," Fittler said.
"I have been looking at him for a couple of years, I have been a big fan. He got a bit injured last year but this year is his time. He has obviously found a bit of confidence, he is ball playing a bit more and he gives his team a lot more. I just put it down to age sometimes."
After being 18th man for the Blues during last year's Holden State of Origin series, de Belin said he also felt more comfortable this year in a team boasting 11 debutants for the series opener at the MCG.
Cronulla prop Matt Prior made his debut in Origin II and St George Illawarra second rower Tariq Sims will replace him on the interchange in Wednesday night's series finale.
"When I was in the camp last year there were players who had been there for a few years so they were entrenched in Origin whereas this year I felt like I belonged," de Belin said.
"There was a lot of fresh faces as well who hadn't even been in an Origin camp before so I was a step ahead of all of those other players.
"Being in and around the camp last year, and being so close but not playing, it kind of made me hungrier and just being in the camp made me feel more comfortable so all of the nerves were gone."
With Sims, second-rower Tyson Frizell and prop Paul Vaughan also from the Dragons, and Prior and hooker Damien Cook being former St George Illawarra teammates, there were a lot of familiar faces for de Belin in the NSW team.
"Freddy and the coaching staff have done a wonderful job in picking players," he said.
"With regards to football talent, they have done an exceptional job, but with regards to being good human beings and having good character, they have done an even better job.
"It is good to see that club form gets rewarded and they were picking NSW this year on merit, not past achievement. The results speak for themselves, which is good to see."
After helping the Blues to just their second Origin series win since 2005, de Belin said the players were determined to make the most of their opportunity to complete NSW's first clean sweep in 18 years.
"It's a good time to be a New South Welshman," he said. "I think the last time NSW had a clean sweep was when Freddy was playing [in 2000] and we have set ourselves up to do it.
"Queensland are going to be playing for their pride and honour but at the same time we want to play for our pride and honour by getting a clean sweep."
Origin at Suncorp, there's nothing like it! Game III tickets available here
Nene Macdonald looking to break his try-scoring drought for St George Illawarra Dragons at 'fortress' Kogarah
King of the kids: Nene Macdonald in action at the Dragons' school holiday clinic at Bexley on Monday. Picture: John Veage
Nene Macdonald has made finding the stripe look easy this season but will look to break a personal duck when St George Illawarra return to Jubilee Oval to host the Wests Tigers on Sunday.
Macdonald, who has scored nine tries in 16 games already this season, is yet to score a four-pointer for the Dragons at Kogarah in his eight appearances in the red V at St George’s spiritual home.
The 24-year-old is only behind centre Euan Aitken (10) as St George Illawarra’s top try scorer this season, level with Matt Dufty on nine tries.
Macdonald has a better record at Kogarah in a Gold Coast jersey. He scored twice for the Titans in a 32-12 victory over the Dragons in 2016.
All aboard: Nene Macdonald gives Matt Dufty a piggyback at the Dragons' school holiday clinic at Bexley on Monday. Picture: John Veage
The giant winger is becoming known for his acrobatic finishes, scoring another incredible effort for the Dragons as they fell from the top of the NRL table after their late 52-30 loss to Melbourne on Thursday night.
St George Illawarra will look to bounce back and secure a 10th win from their last 11 matches at their spiritual home when they welcome the Tigers to Kogarah.
And Macdonald told the Leader the Dragons had turned Jubilee Oval into a fortress.
“I’m pretty pumped for it. I love playing these Sydney games especially at Kogarah Oval. Any local games where the crowd is close up it brings that much more atmosphere than the big stadiums,” he said.
“You come out to say ANZ [Stadium] and it’s the same amount of crowd but it’s just so spread out it feels like there’s hardly anyone there. Then you go to a smaller stadium with the same amount of people you hear the roars and everything and everyone getting involved just lifts [you] that little bit more and puts a bit more passion into it.
A crowd of more than 19,000 were on hand when the Dragons thrashed Melbourne in their last appearance at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah in round nine. Picture: John Veage
“It’s home for us. No one wants to lose at home. I think that’s with every team. They don’t want to lose at home. No matter the team bottom or top of the table you want to lift at home.”
St George Illawarra will hope to welcome back their State of Origin quintet of Ben Hunt, Tyson Frizell, Jack de Belin, Paul Vaughan and Tariq Sims after the five Dragons stars do battle in game three in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
Kick-off is at 4.10pm.
Nene calls for 'Equal Playing Field'
Thu 12 Jul 2018, 10:00 AM
St George Illawarra winger and newly-appointed ambassador to a Papua New Guinea's latest gender inequality and domestic violence program, returned to Port Moresby last weekend to support the ground breaking cause.
'Equal Playing Field' is a Papua New Guinean organisation with a local connection to the Dragons as it was co-founded by Adam Everill from Wollongong, Australia and Jacqui Joseph of Papua New Guinea.
'Equal Playing Field' (EPF) uses sport as a vehicle to address gender inequality and family violence. With major funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade it signifies the great partnership between our two countries.
Nene Macdonald attended the 'Film and Future' event which celebrated the organisations pioneer program 'Equal Playing Field for Schools'.
This program promotes respectful relationships and child protection in schools, working intensively with over 8000 students in Port Moresby and Bougainville. They have also trained over 300 teachers, volunteers and community members.
EPF now hopes to reach 100,000 students in the next three years by partnering with teacher colleges, universities and the Department of Education to mainstream child protection and respectful relationship education.
Nene has offered his support for the organisation and hopes that his influence can help drive momentum and fundraising for this life changing work.
Nene Macdonald returns to PNG for important cause
St George Illawarra Dragon's Illawarra Winger Nene Macdonald talks about his recent visit to Papua New Guinea and helping to create awareness of domestic violence.
Josh Kerr on Reconciliation Action Plan
St George Illawarra Front Row Forward Josh Kerr opens up about growing up as an Indigenous Australian and his role in the Dragons' RAP.
Dragons launch Reconciliation Action Plan
Thu 12 Jul 2018, 12:11 PM
The St George Illawarra Dragons have today launched their inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which will run until the completion of the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
The development and official launch of the Dragons' Reconciliation Action Plan incorporates a review of the club's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander commitments, the formal establishment of a RAP working group and engagement with internal staff and other key corporate and community stakeholders.
SEE THE DRAGONS' RECONCILIATION ACTION PLAN HERE
The RAP and the Dragons' vision for reconciliation is an inclusive Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, histories and cultures as well as support the nation's aim to close the gap.
The Dragons' RAP – which has been officially endorsed and approved by Reconciliation Australia – will ensure the club continues to contribute to stronger long-term relationships with all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
St George Illawarra Indigenous player representative, front-rower Josh Kerr, has been heavily involved in the RAP's development and was pleased to see it finally come to fruition.
"The RAP aims to acknowledge the cultural difference between Australia's different walks of life," Kerr said.
"I’m pretty excited about the RAP as it's something that has been in the works for a couple of years now. When I was shown the first draft of it, I realised it was something special to be a part of as well.
"It's a very significant occasion for my family and I, and I was honoured to be involved."
Dragons Community manager Paul Everill described the RAP as a huge day in the history of the club.
"This is a momentous occasion for our club, that already boasts significant cultural and community initiatives aimed at improving the lives of many," Everill said.
"The club respects the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of our nation, and values the contribution they make to our country, our community, to our sport and to our club.
"The Dragons core values of pride, respect, inclusion and commitment are the keystones of our business and the RAP highlight these."
University of Wollongong Pro Vice Chancellor Paul Chandler – who is a committee member of the Reconciliation Working Group – said it was fitting the Dragons chose NAIDOC week to launch the RAP.
"The RAP launch highlights the Dragons' commitment and readiness to develop and test innovative approaches to reconciliation, and champion reconciliation at every level of their organisation," Chandler said.
"The University of Wollongong are extremely proud to partner with the St George Illawarra Dragons in the delivery of a range of resources and Indigenous learning programs to schools across our region."
The Dragons' RAP sets out 19 actions with a number of deliverables expected to be fulfilled within each.
Each action is built on four pillars:
Developing and maintaining relationships within the community;
Creating opportunities for greater community benefit within the Dragons' huge catchment area, and;
Tracking and progress
Dragons turn attention back to finals charge
Dragons Den News
NEXT JOB: Dragons Blues contingent Paul Vaughan, Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims and Jack de Belin. Picture: AAP
ST GEORGE Illawarra skipper Gareth Widdop’s fingers will likely stay crossed for the rest of the season, but he’s breathing a little easier after his side escaped the rep season unscathed.
The Dragons had five players involved in the now completed Origin series while Widdop, James Graham and Leeson Ah Mau were all involved in the controversial Denver Test experiment.
It was a looming month that gave Widdop and coach Paul McGregor no shortage of headaches earlier in the season despite a red-hot start.
Following game three on Wednesday night, they’ve come through the rep season 3-1, their only loss coming to the Storm in Melbourne last week.
Widdop said it’s a ledger he and McGregor would have taken in a heartbeat when they first sat down to contemplate the middle part of their campaign.
“Yeah definitely, we’d have certainly taken that considering where we have been in the past when it’s happened,” Widdop said.
“It’s never an easy six weeks with rep football, especially considering the number of players we had out. We pretty much had our entire starting pack [out].
“We did speak about it but it’s very hard to change too much. We learned a little bit from last year and it certainly helped having a good start to the season, we were playing with a lot of confidence and belief.
“We’ve added a bit of experience, especially in the forwards, with Jeremy Latimore, Leeson’s a bit older and obviously James Graham which has certainly helped that this year.
“We’ve got some sore tired bodies but we managed to jag some wins through that period. Thankfully the boys have got through OK, we’ve got no injuries, and we can get together, refocus our minds on the Dragons.
“The most important bit’s coming up now at the back end of the season.”
While the Blues contingent of Tyson Frizell, Jack de Belin, Paul Vaughan and Tariq Sims will return riding the high of a series win, it’ll be a different story for Widdop’s halves partner Ben Hunt.
Hunt played no small role in the Dragons start to the year but has endured a bumpy Origin campaign, scapegoated after losses in the first two games of the series and relegated to the bench for Wednesday’s dead rubber.
It’s prompted fears he’ll struggle to recapture top form over the remainder of the season, but they’re not fears Widdop holds.
“I’ve said it before, he’s a pretty laid back character so I don’t think there’s going to be too many things bothering him,” Widdop said.
“We as players and coaching staff know what he’s about and what he’s capable of. He’s done it throughout the year.
“There’s no reason he can’t come back and play with some confidence and belief and I’m sure he’ll do that. He’ll get away for a few days, refresh, and get back into it with the Dragons.”
The Dragons will head into Sunday’s clash with the Tigers at Kogarah in second spot, but with eight games to go, Widdop said his side will need to quickly recapture its early-season form.
“Momentum’s a big thing in rugby league and playing consistent football week in week out is really important,” Widdop said.
“Obviously at the start of the year we were doing that really, really well. Since then we’ve had a few performances that probably weren’t up to scratch.
“We managed to get through Origin with a few wins but, there’s seven weeks left, the real competition starts now.”
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