The Dragons were so very blessed to have many fan-favourites run out in the back row over the past decade.
Five of the following candidates were a part of the Dragons' 2010 grand final win, while the likes of Tariq Sims, Joel Thompson and Tyson Frizell have earned cult followings among the Red V faithful over the years.
Offering up a great opportunity to look back at not only the club's 2010 premiership success, the Team of the Decade will reflect on a whopping 48 players – including our 12 nominated back-rowers – who traversed the triumphs, the trials and the tribulations in the years that followed.
Voting for your favourite back-rowers of the 2010s closes at midnight, Thursday, April 30. This Team of the Decade (2010s) vote is proudly brought to you by Modus Projects.
Back-rowers of the Decade nominees
Neville Costigan (2009-2010)
Dragons appearances: 42 (20 games in the 2010s)
Neville Costigan only spent two seasons at the Dragons but what a few years it proved to be! Costigan was a permanent fixture at the Red V throughout his stint at the club, which culminated in the Dragons' 2010 premiership win. Costigan's capability to play in numerous positions during his tenure was duly rewarded with four State of Origins for Queensland before he made the move across to the Newcastle Knights.
Ben Creagh (2003-16)
Dragons appearances: 270 (141 games in the 2010s)
2003 was a different time. Myspace was all the rage, the first iPhone was still four years away and Ben Creagh debuted for the Dragons… as a winger. Nobody could have guessed that the then lanky 18-year-old would become one of the best Dragons back-rowers of all time. A four-time Dragons Medal winner, including the grand final-winning season of 2010, Creagh recorded the second-most appearances of any St George, Illawarra or St George Illawarra player in history prior to his retirement in 2016. Creagh also made his mark on the representative scene with 11 Origins for New South Wales (eight in the 2010s) and two Tests for Australia (one in 2011).
Tyson Frizell (2013-present)
Dragons appearances: 146 (144 games in the 2010s)
You would be hard-pressed to find another second-rower who has had the same impact as Tyson Frizell in recent years. With a representative rap sheet most second-rowers dream of, his reputation for being one of the most damaging in the game is well deserved. Far from his quiet persona when he takes the field, Frizell – who is sponsored by Modus Projects – has had success with Australia, New South Wales, Country Origin and Wales, racking up 36 representative matches at just 28.
Jacob Host (2016-present)
Dragons appearances: 42 (41 games in the 2010s)
A product of the famous Renown United club, former Australian Schoolboy Jacob Host has carved out a neat resume for himself thus far at the Dragons. The 23-year-old made his debut for the Red V in 2016 and is closing in on 50 games for the club. Never too far away from the Dragons' first-choice team list, the only way is up for Host as he looks to make a name for himself in the middle of the field for the Dragons in 2020.
Luciano Leilua (2016-19)
Dragons appearances: 44
Built like a front-rower with the ball-playing skills of a playmaker, Leilua was always an x-factor when he took the field. A part of the Dragons' pathway from 2014, Leilua was awarded the Dragons Under-20s Player of the Year in 2016 as well as the Illawarra Player of the Year the year following. Leilua's wrecking-ball style of play saw him make his international debut for Samoa in 2019 prior to his departure for the Wests Tigers this year.
Jake Marketo (2010-12; 2015-17)
Dragons appearances: 51
The one-time City Origin representative Jake Marketo came through the grades at the club and debuted for the Red V under Wayne Bennett in the Dragons' 2010 premiership-winning campaign. After several seasons in the Queensland Cup, Marketo returned to the club in 2015 and played 37 games over the next three seasons. The much-maligned character Marketo has enjoyed success at the Townsville Blackhawks in recent seasons.
Will Matthews (2012-17)
Dragons appearances: 60
The former Australia schoolboy joined the Dragons from Gold Coast Titans in 2012 and became a reliable Mr-Fix-It for the Red V. Known for his trademark tackling technique, as a student of legendary Maroons lock Trevor 'Axe' Gillmeister, Matthews mostly came off the bench to play second row, lock and even centre on occasions. Matthews re-joined the Titans in 2018 before retiring last year.
Matt Prior (2008-13)
Dragons appearances: 120 (89 games in the 2010s)
Matt Prior played his junior footy for the Thirroul Butchers and would make his was into the Dragons' squad in 2008. Two years later, Prior would become a premiership winner, coming off the bench to lift the trophy in 2010. Prior played the majority of his Dragons career switching between centre and second row but showing his versatility, has since developed into a front-rower for the Cronulla Sharks and now Leeds Rhinos.
Jarrod Saffy (2008-2010)
Dragons appearances: 53 (21 games in the 2010s)
Jarrod Saffy joined the Dragons after a limited stint with the Wests Tigers in 2008 and quickly became an important cog in the Dragons' forward pack. Managing 53 games over three seasons, including 21 games in 2010, Saffy was very lucky to find a place in the Dragons' grand final success after succumbing to injury the week prior. Saffy departed for Super Rugby outfit Melbourne Rebels following the grand final win.
Beau Scott (2007-12)
Dragons appearances: 119 (55 games in the 2010s)
Possessing a death stare that would strike fear in any man, Beau Scott carved out a reputation as one of the toughest men in rugby league while at the Dragons. The no-nonsense back-rower or centre joined the Dragons in 2007 and was a crucial cog in the club's 2010 grand final win. Prior to his departure in 2012, the three-time Geoff Selby Trophy recipient was duly rewarded in his time at the Red V with five State of Origins for New South Wales and one Test for Australia. Scott spent three years with the Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels each before retirement called in 2018.
Tariq Sims (2016-present)
Dragons appearances: 77 (76 games in the 2010s)
Tariq Sims joined the Dragons from the Newcastle Knights midway through 2016; hailing from Gerringong it was somewhat of a homecoming for the proud South Coast product. 'Taz' – who is sponsored by Stonemasons & Landscapers (since 1970) – is known for his aggression on field. Picked to play State Origin for New South Wales over the past two years, Sims was named the prestigious Dragons Medallist in 2018. Who could also forget his hat-trick in week one of finals that same season to help the Dragons to a massive 48-18 win over the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium?
Joel Thompson (2014-17)
Dragons appearances: 85
A proud Indigenous All Star representative, Joel Thompson arrived from the Canberra Raiders in 2014 and became a regular in the second row for the Dragons. Thompson would take out the Geoff Selby Memorial Trophy in 2014 following a strong debut season in the Red V and was also often recognised for his community work, winning the Dragons Community Award three years running (2015-17) and the NRL's Ken Stephen Medal in 2016. A fan-favourite for the Red V, Thompson's departure for the Sea Eagles was met with much despair from Red V members and fans.