St George Illawarra have appointed Shaun Timmins as the Dragons' Pathways Recruitment Manager following Richard Agar's departure late last year.
Timmins will work closely with Director of Rugby League Pathways and List Management Ian Millward to identify young rugby league talent for the club's Under-20s, 18s, 16s and high performance unit squads throughout the Dragons' catchment areas and beyond.
Timmins's acquisition is even more important considering the recent establishment of the NRL development player squad, which dictates a minimum of three players and maximum of six can train with the first grade squad on a full-time basis.
The notion of the development player has helped consolidate the Dragons' genuine player pathway; Jackson Ford, Hayden Lomax, Tristan Sailor and Steve Marsters (Illawarra juniors) as well as Jason Saab and Joe Lovodua (St George juniors) have featured in the squad since the concept's introduction in 2018.
"The Pathways Recruitment Manager is a really vital aspect of the Dragons. Obviously being a pathway club, the importance of identifying players to bring through our system is huge," Millward said.
"The role dictates we need an individual to be involved in our high performance unit, who knows the Dragons' catchment areas, someone who can offer advice to our junior coaches as well as attend junior representative training sessions.
"It's a very multi-faceted role, and Shaun ticks a lot of boxes. Shaun has worked with our internal and external junior players for numerous years already and been on the coaching staff for a number of our teams.
"We have a really strong focus as a club when it comes to succession planning so Shaun as the Pathways Recruitment Manager will be important in determining who comes into our Under-20s, Canterbury Cup and NRL squads."
Four seasons as an assistant coach for the Illawarra Steelers' SG Ball team and a further year assisting the Dragons' Canterbury Cup team has helped Timmins build into his new role at the club.
"There are obviously a lot of school carnival football occurring at the moment and our junior representative teams have almost concluded their season so it has been exciting to jump on board in this recruitment role," Timmins said.
"The Dragons have a great rugby league nursery area in their catchment areas. We have always produced plenty of talent so to help continue that tradition will be pleasing.
"Ian (Millward) and I will be out constantly checking up on the players who are already in our system regularly as well as looking to bolster our junior representative squads throughout this process.
"There's always plenty of football happening across the country and overseas so I'm looking forward to identifying up-and-coming rugby league talent."