St George Illawarra have announced Daniel Lacey has been reappointed as head coach of the Dragons' Women Premiership team while inaugural skipper and mother-to-be Sam Bremner will join the women's coaching staff ahead of the 2019 competition.
Alicia-Kate Hawke will return as an assistant coach while long-term Australia Jillaroos trainer Pamela Goodridge will again oversee the athletic performance of the squad.
"To be given the position last year in the inaugural Women's Premiership season was special, but to return in the role is a great honour," Lacey said.
"The whole Women's Premiership staff are back on board with me in 2019. They already do a lot of work for women's rugby league in the area, and we're keen to build on that.
"Now with Sammy on board to lend her way off the field, we'll be looking at her to be highly involved with the entire squad which is a big plus for us."
With 'Baby Bremner' due in August, it was not possible for Bremner to participate as a player in the 2019 NRL Holden Women's Premiership, but she was determined to remain involved.
"I am honoured to join the Dragons' women's team's coaching staff and I'll be doing everything I can to contribute to the success of the team this year," Bremner said. "I love the fact that I'm staying involved.
"I'm an all or nothing individual so now I'm officially on the coaching staff I'll do anything I can to help the girls achieve what they want to achieve which will make me a better teammate, player and coach moving forward."
Bremner named Dragons Women's Premiership assistant coach
Bremner, as a result of her pregnancy, has temporarily shifted her rugby league focus to coaching the Helensburgh Tiger Lillies in 2019 – the team she founded herself almost a decade ago – in the Illawarra open women's competition.
"One of the best decisions I've made in 2019 [is coaching Helensburgh]. I thought I'd really struggle not playing but I'm actually enjoying it," Bremner said.
"Coaching is a tough gig at times but I've definitely gained respect for the role and all my past coaches. I've learnt more about the game from a different perspective as well."
Several inaugural Women's Premiership teammates of Bremner have expressed interest in re-signing with the Dragons; a fact that comes as no shock.
"We built such a fantastic culture and bond last year; we wanted to be a strong team so it's not surprising that there will be plenty of girls coming back to play this season," Bremner said.
"[Being at the Dragons] became addictive and that's why you play rugby league – it makes you feel empowered and really good about yourself."
One of the key figures responsible for the strong Dragons' Women's Premiership culture was Lacey, who with more time, reviewing and planning is aiming to field an even better team in 2019.
"We have had a lot more time second time around to look at recruitment. It was very rushed last year trying to put it all together; but now we've been afforded the flexibility to build a stronger squad for this season."
The success of the premiership-winning Illawarra Steelers – which Lacey coached – and the top four finish of the St George Dragons in the Tarsha Gale Cup is proof the club as a whole is on the right path as far as its women's pathway is concerned.
"We have also been working hard with our pathways, to bring girls through from the junior representative teams to the NRL. This approach will be no different in 2019," Lacey said.
"Even before we were awarded an NRL licence, we put a lot of time and energy into the juniors which has proven fruitful given the success of the Illawarra Steelers and St George Dragons at the Tarsha Gale Cup level in 2019."
The Dragons' Women's Premiership team is the pinnacle of the female rugby league pathway across the club's region – from Earlwood in Sydney to Bateman's Bay on the South Coast – with more than 15,000 girls and women from Under-6s to opens currently competing in our region across tackle, tag and touch football.