St George Illawarra Dragons Assistant Coach Ian Millward has praised the playing squad for their display of unity which has developed over the present pre-season.

The Dragons completed their first phase of pre-season training prior to the holiday period and impressed in the eyes of Head Coach Paul McGregor and his coaching staff which includes Millward.

Millward was most recently appointed Head Coach of the Illawarra Cutters for the 2014 as well as working with the Dragons in a coaching advisory role for the second-half of the campaign prior to his permanent appointment.

He is a former Illawarra Steelers junior who boasts an extensive coaching resume which includes appointments as Head Coach with Leigh Centurions (1998-2000), St Helens (2000-05), Wigan Warriors (2005-06) and Castleford Tigers (2012-13).

During this 16-year timeframe, Millward won several pieces of silverware, including two English Super League Grand Finals (2000, 2002), two Challenge Cups (2001, 2004) and a World Club Challenge (2001), and was named the English Super League ‘Coach of the Year’ in 2001.

“The attitude of the players has been outstanding and there is a really good feel presently around the place,” said McGregor.

“Pre-seasons are of course long and tough but they’re needed to get some good structures in place and there has been considerable progress so far.

“The training sessions themselves have been conducted with a lot of intensity which is what a coach always wants to see and that’s an area which really wasn’t the best prior to Paul McGregor taking charge.

“There are quite a few new faces around the squad and a lot on the periphery who aren’t big name players.

“Having said that, they are important for our overall depth and have blended in really well with the existing players.

“Each new face has been welcomed by the existing playing group and everyone is just really getting along well.

“We will be at full strength when the second phase of pre-season begins which will include the returning players who took part in the Four Nations tournament.”