Nine big decisions, 48 players sifted through and well over 20,000 votes later, the St George Illawarra Dragons' Team of the 2010s has finally been determined, thanks to our Red V members and fans.
While the bulk of the Team of the 2010s featured in the Dragons' grand final triumph over the Sydney Roosters, there remains a littering of fan favourites throughout different periods of the decade for the Red V faithful to enjoy.
The Team of the Decade (2010s) has been proudly brought to you by St.George Bank.
Fullback of the Decade
Darius Boyd (2009-2011)
Dragons appearances: 69 (47 games in the 2010s)
66 per cent of the fullback vote
It’s fair to say Darius Boyd's short stint at the Dragons allowed for some of his greater showings. Awarded the Clive Churchill medal for best on ground in the 2010 grand final, Boyd was also named Dally M Fullback of the Year, the RLPA Player of the Year and the Red V Members' Player of the Year at the beginning of the decade. Boyd was a representative mainstay for Queensland and Australia while at the Red V prior to his departure at 2011's conclusion.
Wingers of the Decade
Brett Morris (2006-2014)
Dragons appearances: 169 (108 games in the 2010s)
42 per cent of the winger vote
The local Kiama junior was always destined to don the Red V at first grade level, which he achieved in 2006. A whopping 169 appearances and 114 tries (second-most in joint-venture history) later, with plenty of New South Wales and Australian jumpers in between, Morris would depart the club in 2014. The club's leading try-scorer (20) in 2010 also earned due awards in the form of the Red V Members' Player of the Year and the prestigious Dragons Medal in 2012.
Jason Nightingale (2007-2018)
Dragons appearances: 270 (212 games in the 2010s)
55 per cent of the winger vote
As St George, Illawarra and St George Illawarra's third-most capped player ever, Jason Nightingale scored 110 NRL tries for the Dragons and became a mainstay for New Zealand, representing the Kiwis on 33 occasions. 'Gypsy's' time at the Dragons is highlighted by his impressive haul of club awards: twice claiming the Geoff Selby Memorial Trophy (2010 and 2016), the Immortals Trophy (2011), Red V Members' Player of the Year (2011 and 2013), the Mark Coyne Trophy (2014) and the prestigious Dragons Medal (2011).
Centres of the Decade
Mark Gasnier (2000-08; 2010-11)
Dragons appearances: 174 (33 games in the 2010s)
34 per cent of the centre vote
The nephew of club legend and rugby league immortal Reg, Mark Gasnier carved out his own stellar career in the Red V. A late-season move back to the Dragons in 2010 after a spell in French Rugby paid dividends in the form of premiership glory, where he scored the opening try for the Red V in the grand final. A prolific representative for state and country throughout his career, Gasnier was afforded one last hurrah for New South Wales in 2011 before retirement beckoned.
Matt Cooper (2000-13)
Dragons appearances: 243 (63 games in the 2010s)
61 per cent of the centre vote
Matt Cooper made his debut for the Dragons at the turn of the century and wore the Red V for his entire 13-year career, amassing an incredible 243 games before his 2013 retirement. Highly regarded as one of the best defensive centres in the league, the local Shellharbour junior was as handy at finding the try-line and remains the joint-venture's record holder for most tries (124). Cooper's 100th career win coincided with the Dragons' 2010 grand final victory.
Halves of the Decade
Jamie Soward (2007-13)
Dragons appearances: 140 (81 games in the 2010s)
66 per cent of the five-eighth vote
St George Illawarra's most prolific individual point-scorer (977), the composed Jamie Soward slotted 25 field goals in Dragons colours; arguably the most important coming against the Wests Tigers in the 2010 preliminary final to seal the Red V's place in the grand final. The rest, as they say, is history. Soward's form was rewarded in 2011 when he represented New South Wales in all three State of Origin matches before his departure midway through 2013.
Ben Hornby (c) (2000-2012)
Dragons appearances: 273 (72 games in the 2010s)
79 per cent of the halfback vote
One moment in time trumps all others when reflecting on the decade as a St George Illawarra fan – Ben Hornby holding aloft the Provan Summons Trophy in 2010. Hornby also led the Dragons to World Club Challenge success and another huge finals tilt the year following. Prior to his retirement in 2012, Hornby became the most-capped player in St George, Illawarra and St George Illawarra history when he surpassed immortal back-rower Norm Provan, a record that remains to this day.
Front-rowers of the Decade
Leeson Ah Mau (2012-18)
Dragons appearances: 144
37 per cent of the front-rower vote
Leeson Ah Mau is the definition of a gentle giant – quiet off the field but tough as an old leather boot on it. Ah Mau was a mainstay of the Dragons' front row rotation for the majority of the decade, earning the title as one of the competition's most consistent front-rowers. The 2015 Dragons Medallist deservingly earned caps for both Samoa and New Zealand while at the Dragons.
Michael Weyman (2009-13)
Dragons appearances: 93 (71 games in the 2010s)
32 per cent of the front-rower vote
The turn of the decade was the most memorable period of Michael Weyman's career. Not only did 'Horse' take part in the Dragons' 2010 premiership win, he also represented New South Wales and Australia. The proud South Coast product departed the Dragons for Super League outfit Hull KR in 2012 and has since had his own statue erected in his hometown of Moruya.
Hooker of the Decade
Cameron McInnes (2017-present)
Dragons appearances: 73
52 per cent of the hooker vote
Cameron McInnes won all four performance-based year-end awards in the space of his first three seasons at the Dragons: the Immortals Trophy (2017), Red V Members Player of the Year, Geoff Selby Memorial Trophy and Dragons Medal (all 2019). McInnes – proudly sponsored by Dincel Structural Walling – has built a reputation for his never-die-attitude and strong leadership; attributes that led the 26-year-old to become club captain in 2020.
Second-rowers of the Decade
Ben Creagh (2003-16)
Dragons appearances: 270 (141 games in the 2010s)
36 per cent of the second-rower vote
Nobody could have guessed that Ben Creagh would become one of the best Dragons back-rowers of all time upon debuting on the wing in 2003. 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.
Tyson Frizell (2013-present)
Dragons appearances: 146 (144 games in the 2010s)
31 per cent of the second-rower vote
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 that others 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.
Lock of the Decade
Jack de Belin (2011-present)
Dragons appearances: 154
42 per cent of the lock vote
Jack de Belin's career took big strides in 2011 upon making his first grade debut and being named the Holden Cup Under-20s Player of the Year. De Belin became a permanent fixture of the Dragons' forward pack the year following, and has earned two Geoff Selby Memorial Trophies (2013-14) and the Immortals Trophy (2016) since. The equal-ninth most-capped player in joint-venture history remains at the club but hasn't donned the Red V in 18 months as a result of the NRL's no-fault stand-down policy.
Gareth Widdop (2014-19)
Dragons appearances: 125
Gareth Widdop joined the Dragons in 2014 and quickly became a fan favourite. That year he was awarded Red V Members' Player of the Year, a feat he repeated in 2015. A Dragons Medallist in 2017 and Immortals Trophy recipient in 2018, Widdop represented England and Great Britain a combined 20 times at the Dragons. The first (and only) Englishmen to score 1000 points in the NRL, Widdop sits at second on the joint-venture's all-time pointscorer list.
Dean Young (2003-12)
Dragons appearances: 209 (63 in the 2010s)
From his famous embrace with father Craig after winning the 2010 premiership to his current role as Dragons assistant coach, Dean Young is etched in Dragons history. The two-time Dragons Immortals Trophy recipient debuted in 2003; his career peaking at the turn of the decade when he scored a try in the Dragons’ premiership victory on his way to a Test debut for Australia. Young made his debut for New South Wales the year following before retirement called in 2012.
Paul Vaughan (2017-present)
Dragons appearances: 67 (65 games in the 2010s)
Paul Vaughan moved to the Dragons in 2017 and quickly become a showcase feature of the Dragons' pack. In his first year, Vaughan took out the Red V Members' Player of the Year and the Geoff Selby Memorial Trophy. The Italian Stallion – proudly sponsored by Fox Property – has since earned two Kangaroos appearances and played every Origin for New South Wales since his debut in 2018.
Beau Scott (2007-12)
Dragons appearances: 118 (55 games in the 2010s)
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. The three-time Geoff Selby Trophy recipient represented New South Wales times and Australia once, prior to his departure in 2012.
St George Illawarra Dragons' Team of the 2010s:
1. Darius Boyd
2. Brett Morris
3. Mark Gasnier
4. Matt Cooper
5. Jason Nightingale
6. Jamie Soward
7. Ben Hornby (c)
8. Leeson Ah Mau
9. Cameron McInnes
10. Michael Weyman
11. Ben Creagh
12. Tyson Frizell
13. Jack de Belin
14. Gareth Widdop
15. Dean Young
16. Paul Vaughan
17. Beau Scott