The St George Illawarra Dragons have today confirmed key staff appointments ahead of a decision on the teams to be included in the 2018 NRL Women's Premiership by the end of the month.
In preparing a submission for inclusion in the inaugural 2018 NRL Women's premiership, the Dragons worked on identifying a group of qualified and experienced individuals to coach and develop an elite squad of female athletes.
Each of the four key staff appointments for the Dragons' NRL Women's Premiership outfit have had an affiliation with rugby league for some time and have committed themselves to the Dragons' women's program should the club be successful in obtaining a license.
Coach of the currently undefeated Illawarra Steelers Tarsha Gale Cup side Daniel Lacey will take control of the Women's Premiership outfit, while Pam Goodridge – who has been an Australian Jillaroos trainer for the past eight years – will oversee the athletic performance of the squad.
Alicia Kate-Hawke (assistant coach) and Danielle Gallagher (strength and conditioning coach) have also accepted key roles ahead of the inaugural women's elite competition.
With Lacey tasked with leading the development of the women's elite program within the club's submission, his time also spent as the New South Wales and NRL All Stars women's coach has him well-prepared for the inaugural NRL Women's Premiership.
"I've been involved in female rugby league in the Dragons' catchment areas and throughout New South Wales since 2013 so the chance to play a part in the NRL Women's Premiership's inaugural season is something I'm looking forward to," Lacey said.
"Since coaching New South Wales and the All Stars, I've seen women's rugby league grow from year to year.
"It's fantastic that these girls who are right into rugby league are actually reaping the rewards off the back of its continued development."
Goodridge herself has been involved in rugby league in the Dragons' local catchment areas for over 20 years, including time spent as an NRL Development Officer, and is keen to extend her commitment to the game in terms of the Women's Premiership.
"I always had to pinch myself when I've been involved with the Jillaroos and New South Wales, so to now have this going forward has ignited my passion once again," Goodridge said.
"It's very exciting for those girls who have been long-term Jillaroos and NSW players, as well as our grassroots girls. It's exciting for all female participants at this time who are keen to get on to that big stage.
"Just trying to keep the grassroots involved long enough to want to get to that next level; this premiership will be extremely beneficial for them to see where they can progress."
Both Goodridge and Lacey's appointments will see them reunite once again with the common goal of developing the women's game even further.
"I'm really excited to work with Pam again. I've worked with her at junior reps level for the Steelers and she was also with me in the NSW and All Stars camps," Lacey said.
"She's played a huge part and she's a big reason why women's football has progressed so well in our catchment areas.
"Her appointment will see her also get the benefits from her input and hard work she's put in to rugby league over the years."