The St George Illawarra Dragons want Red V Members, Partners and supporters to know they are listening, and acknowledge and accept the criticisms surrounding the NRL Team Performance in 2016.
Finishing 11th in the NRL competition was unacceptable.
Independent interviews with Football Staff and senior players have been conducted over recent weeks along with detailed analysis of all aspects of the the 2016 season and football programs, to identify areas for improvement for 2017.
A 'Rugby League Performance Committee' has now been established to oversee, in particular, the development and management of the 2017 Football Department’s programs and systems.
The Committee is made up of four independent experts, listed as follows, with their most relevant experience:
Mark Coyne: Queensland State of Origin Mentor, Chief Executive of EML and former Club Captain.
Dr Craig Duncan: Applied Sports Scientist Consultant - clients present or past include Football Federation Australia, NSWRL, Crystal Palace FC (EPL), Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL), UAE Rugby Union and New England Revolution (MLS).
Clare Prideaux: New South Wales Institute of Sport High Performance Director - managing coaches, performance staff and athletes across 15 sports; Hockey Australia Board Member.
Dirk Melton: Coaching and Performance Consultant - ongoing relationships include the Australian Rugby Union, Super Rugby Franchises, and a number of Olympic Sports.
This group will update and involve nominated Board Members Brian Johnston, Graeme Gulloch and Peter Doust, as and where necessary.
The areas of focus for the 'Rugby League Performance Committee' include athlete development, training structures, coaching development, performance science and data analytics, systems management and integration, recruitment processes and leadership.
Noting a number of factors that contributed to the team’s performance and results in 2016, the Board of Directors believe Paul McGregor has a positive future as an NRL Coach and is the Dragons Head Coach, in 2017.
“There is no hiding from the NRL result, and post our disappointing season, the Board wanted to ensure all aspects of the 2016 programs were considered and specific plans for improvement in 2017 developed, implemented and regularly evaluated,” said Dragons CEO Peter Doust.
“The Coaching and Athletic Performance expertise on our 'Rugby League Performance Committee' is first class.
"They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from a variety of backgrounds, and success, in elite sport.
“Best practice and programs that deliver sustained long-term success for the Club in all areas and across our entire rugby league pathway is the focus.”
In acknowledging the NRL disappointment, it is also important to recognise the positive performances and results of our NSW Cup squad, NYC squad and Illawarra Steelers SG Ball U18 team in 2016.
“Winning the NSW Cup competition was a fantastic achievement for all the staff and players involved throughout the year," said Doust.
“Our NYC squad reached the Grand Final qualifier providing 42 players with an opportunity at that level and our Steelers SG Ball team reached the Grand Final, highlighting and showcasing the talent we have developing within our Club.”
Head Coach Paul McGregor acknowledges the NRL disappointments of 2016 and with all interviews and reviews now complete, has already begun work on implementing changes and improvements to the 2017 program.
“Our results in 2016 were not acceptable and no one within the Club is happy or comfortable with our results and inconsistent performances this year,” said McGregor.
“All systems within the Football Department and aspects of the 2016 Program have been reviewed, areas for improvement have been identified, and I’m encouraged about the prospect of input and support from the ‘Rugby League Performance Committee’.
“Whilst our staff and playing roster is yet to be finalised for 2017, work has began and I will be doing everything possible to ensure that our NRL Team is successful.
"Everyone at the Club understands and accepts how important our team's performance is to all.
“We will have some changes in our roster for 2017, especially in some key positions and our squad is not yet finalised.
“We also have some outstanding young talent at our Club who will be given the opportunity to train with the full-time squad in the pre-season and therefore put their hand up for NRL selection in 2017.”
The Dragons 2017 Squad (excluding representative players) will return to training in early November.
When planning and all Staff positions for 2017 are confirmed, the Club will provide further detail.