St George Illawarra have announced three contract upgrades on the eve of the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
Dragons playmaker Adam Clune and hooker Billy Brittain have been promoted to the club's Top 30 squad, while fullback Cody Ramsey will continue training full-time as a development player.
Clune – who has worked his way through the Dragons' junior representative, Under-20s and reserve grade systems over the past number of years – has impressed plenty with his conduct in his first pre-season.
"Adam has opened a lot of eyes with his diligence and understanding of the game; Ben Hunt and Corey Norman talk highly of him," Director of Rugby League Pathways and List Management Ian Millward said.
"He's the perfect example of a player hanging in there for an opportunity. He's earned the right to this Top 30 contract and we like to think he'll become a long-term Dragon."
Brittain joined the Dragons a fortnight ago on a train-and-trial contract. Following solid showings against the Newcastle Knights and his former club South Sydney, the 25-year-old has signed a two-year deal with the Red V.
The Queensland native has previously played two NRL games for the Rabbitohs, and in 2019 was named the Canterbury Cup NSW Player of the Year.
"Billy is an interesting one. With uncertainty around Cameron (McInnes), the coaching staff were looking for a hooker who could play long minutes to complement the short sharp bursts of Issac Luke and Joe Lovodua," Millward said.
"With a two-year deal, it'll give him the chance to work underneath Cameron and give the coaching staff plenty of options moving forward."
Ramsey's introduction to the rugby league vernacular was spurred by his starring role at the recent Perth Nines. The reigning Dragons Under-20s Player of the Year was named as the Nines' best rookie and in the tournament's best nine.
Millward stressed however that Ramsey's promotion was tabled long before the Nines as reward for his performances throughout his maiden pre-season. The 20-year-old will progress into the Dragons' Top 30 in 2021.
"Cody is an exciting player with an abundance of speed, dynamic footwork and is one of our best trainers. He has coped with his first pre-season extremely well with his attitude and talent," Millward said.
"I know everyone said he played well at the Nines but we thought he was going great beforehand and tabled this deal prior to the team heading to Perth.
"There will be plenty of players who played well at the Nines that won't transfer that to 13-a-side, but I can assure Cody won't be one of them."
Millward also outlined his hopes to fill the final spot in the Dragons' Top 30 roster with an outside back.
"We have been in negotiations with a winger. We're hoping to get some clarity on that in the coming weeks," Millward said.
"That's the area we have identified as needing one more player following Jonus Pearson's departure to the Gold Coast Titans. We have some great young talent below, especially in Mat and Max Feagai but that will come with time."