Dear Red V members and supporters,
It is a great privilege to be the new CEO of the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The wonderful history of the club combined with the immense potential for great success in the future, make this role exciting and I am truly humbled to be in this position.
I want to thank the board for giving me this opportunity and the staff who have welcomed me so warmly in what is a unique time to begin this new role. In my short time at the club I have noticed a great passion for the Red V amongst the staff along with an openness for new thinking and growth.
I believe that the club's great achievements and characters of the past must be remembered and celebrated as they are the reason that many of you so passionately support the Dragons. But in saying that, although we can always learn from the achievements of the past, this must be supplemented by new thinking, hard work, clear goals and a genuine willingness to challenge how we do things and an acceptance for change and growth.
I recognise that this is a very difficult time for everyone in our community as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges the way we handle our lives, health and finances. The club is working through this period as best we can, which means listening to advice from experts and constantly reassessing our decisions as the environment continually changes around us.
As I write this note, we are working with the NRL, the clubs and other key stakeholders towards a May 28 start date. We will ensure that the health of our players, staff, their families and the broader community is kept at the forefront of our mind as we work through the challenges of hitting this date.
Our club is working through financial challenges just like many businesses across the world. This has led to financially driven cutbacks in some areas of the business and it will no doubt require further tough decisions to be made in the coming months. This is very difficult as there are people’s lives at the core of many of these decisions, but I have no doubt that we will come out of this period with a strong and agile club, ready to succeed.
While I have this opportunity, there are some key areas that I would like to touch on:
Red V Membership
The support that the club has received from the members has been outstanding. Membership is one of the key financial drivers of the Dragons; our members are the lifeblood of this organisation. Without our Red V members, there is no St George Illawarra.
Clearly there have been hurdles put in our way that are out of our control, but rest assured that we will do everything we can to ensure that our members feel valued and we will communicate with you as quickly and openly as we can as the path ahead becomes clearer.
The Dragons have an outstanding stable of corporate partners and their support through this period has been exceptional.
I wish to thank our apparel partners St.George Bank, TripADeal, Westfund, Modus Projects, Deicorp, XBlades and Paul's Customs and Freight Forwarding Solutions for their unwavering commitment.
Our icon and executive partners – like many businesses around the world – have also faced their challenges through this period but have remained committed to the Red V, and for that we thank them.
It is extremely evident looking at the Dragons' social channels how passionate our Red V members and fans are.
We are keen to harness this passion into new and innovative measures to help keep our adoring fan base captivated, as well as open our dialogue to respectfully engage with our members and fans.
As we close in St George's 100-year celebrations, we are also looking forward to taking a deeper dive into the club's history. Not only St George, but also the Steelers and the St George Illawarra joint-venture.
The work of the football staff has been outstanding during the past month as we aimed to keep our players engaged and fit during the isolation period. The players have really bought into maintaining themselves throughout this isolation period and we look forward to seeing them return to the field in due time.
I am really excited by the club's roster. Knowing how proud a club this is, success should always be anticipated and expected.
As a club we are doing all we can do support the NRL in getting the competition up and running as soon as possible and our players and staff will follow every direction to do this in a manner which is safe for everyone at the Club and in our community.
I must also thank outgoing CEO Brian Johnston for his support over recent weeks. His passion for the club and its people was very evident to me and I am grateful for his willingness to share is knowledge and support me as I took up this new role.
Finally, I want to again thank all our members, corporate partners and fans for their support during this time and I look forward to seeing you all at a game in the not-too-distant future