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The St George Illawarra Dragons proudly welcomed both Albert Viali and Gordon Lemisio into their pre-season training ranks recently.

Both players came to the Club for a six-week training block with the full-time first-grade training squad having previously been identified by the Dragons during their visit to Samoa.

The Dragons, in conjunction with representatives from the NRL, spent three days identifying and assessing more than 200 prospective athletes on a visit to Samoa back in May.

The Dragons tested athletes across a number of physical testing simulations while additionally promoting key messages about the game across the island nation.

The travelling Dragons contingent included Dragons Recruitment Manager Ben Haran, Dragons and NRL Community Ambassador Shaun Timmins and NRL Education and Welfare Manager Nigel Vagana.

The outcome of this visit provided Samoan players a pathway in a tested system to potentially reach the NRL from the Pacific region and to provide education through the successful Tackle Bullying and Dream Believe Achieve programs.

Both Viali and Lemisio spent six-weeks undergoing training programs alongisde the full-time first-grade training squad as well the National Youth Competition team squad.

Additionally, both athletes took part in several community programs as part of the Dragons Community team.

The Dragons have a strong connection with Samoan Rugby League with Toa Samoa internationals Leeson Ah Mau and Peter Mata’utia both presently playing their trade with the Red V.