The St George Illawarra Dragons have finalised their Top 30 squad for the 2018 Telstra Premiership season following the signings of Darren Nicholls and Mitchell Allgood.
Halfback Nicholls joins the Red V from the Penrith Panthers on a two-year contract, which will tie him to the club until at least the end of the 2019 season.
The 28-year-old – who has previously featured at the Wests Tigers, Rabbitohs and Broncos – skippered the Panthers' Intrust Super Premiership side in 2017 to an NRL State Championship victory over the PNG Hunters.
Director of Rugby League Pathways Ian Millward anticipated that Nicholls's experience and ambitions will hold him in good stead at the Dragons.
"We head-hunted Darren to come on board for the reason that he is a very experienced halfback. He's been at a couple of NRL clubs now and he's probably been the best player in the Intrust Super Premiership and Cup over the last couple of years," Millward said.
"We looked at him for a number of reasons. One because we are anticipating Ben Hunt may play State of Origin in 2018 and we also wanted to make sure we had a person who'd be good for our younger guys like Jai Field, Tristan Sailor and Jackson Willis.
"Darren has a real aspiration to play in the NRL and we believe he is the sort of person that can step up and play first grade on a regular basis."
Allgood will join the Dragons on a one-year deal following a three-year stint in the English Super League at Hull KR (2015-16) and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats (2017).
A veteran of 70 NRL games during his time with the Parramatta Eels (2011-14), Allgood also represented the City Origin team in 2012.
"Mitchell is someone who will come in with NRL experience and someone who wants to prove himself. On a one-year contract, Mitchell has to come out of the blocks and show us that he deserves to be in the NRL with the Dragons," Millward said.
"There was plenty of thought put into Mitchell in terms of his age, experience and his position. On top of James Graham and Jeremy Latimore as well as Mitchell, they all have experience which will help the young front-rowers coming through the ranks."
Nicholls and Allgood's signings completes the Dragons' Top 30 squad ahead of the 2018 season.
While the Dragons are yet to fulfil the minimum quota of three development players within the full-time squad, this is expected to be finalised in the coming days and weeks. Tristan Sailor and Steven Marsters have already been named as development players for 2018.
The first wave of players will report to week one of pre-season training this week.
St George Illawarra Dragons 2018 squad:
- Leeson Ah Mau
- Euan Aitken
- Mitchell Allgood
- Jack de Belin
- Matt Dufty
- Jai Field
- Tyson Frizell
- Reuben Garrick
- James Graham
- Patrick Herbert
- Ben Hunt
- Jacob Host
- Josh Kerr
- Tim Lafai
- Jeremy Latimore
- Blake Lawrie
- Luciano Leilua
- Zac Lomax
- Nene Macdonald
- Kurt Mann
- Cameron McInnes
- Darren Nicholls
- Jason Nightingale
- Jordan Pereira
- Reece Robson
- Hame Sele
- Tariq Sims
- Joel Thompson
- Paul Vaughan
- Gareth Widdop