St George Illawarra have announced the extension of Steelers junior representative quartet Junior Amone, Tyrell Sloan, Josh Coric and Jackson Shereb-Schmidt.
A collective boost for the Dragons' succession planning and list management for at least the coming four seasons, all four have advanced through the club's junior pathways system.
The quartet's extension precedes the Dragons recently naming 14 players who either progressed through the club's junior pathways or debuted at the Red V for the club's Round 20 win over the Melbourne Storm.
They will come into an environment where they can all be comfortable in each other's company, which will hopefully provide them all a great opportunity to... hopefully win premierships at the highest level.Ben Haran General manager of football
While all four featured in the Steelers' SG Ball win of 2019, only Amone and Sloan will initially join fellow Under-18s grand final victors Jayden Sullivan and Max and Mat Feagai in the Dragons' 2021 full-time squad.
Sloan and Amone round out the Dragons' 2021 development player squad, alongside centre Shaun Sauni-Esau and utility forward Hayden Lomax.
"It's exciting for the club and the players themselves to continue their development at the Dragons. For them to progress to the NRL squad having previously won an SG Ball competition together is pleasing," Dragons general manager of football Ben Haran said.
"They will come into an environment where they can all be comfortable in each other's company, which will hopefully provide them all a great opportunity to continue their careers as a collective and hopefully win premierships at the highest level."
Half Amone earned the interest of several other NRL clubs before committing to a three-year deal. The Wests Illawarra junior will become a development player in 2021 and join the top squad in the years following.
"Partnering up with Jayden Sullivan in the halves of the SG Ball premiership-winning team, Junior have been a part of our succession planning for a while now," Dragons director of rugby league pathways and list management Ian Millward said.
"Junior is a player who typifies exactly what we want to develop through our pathways; he has a great attitude and his attention to detail remains strong."
Dapto Canaries junior Sloan will join Amone in the development player squad in 2021. The New South Wales Under-18s representative has been earmarked to join the top squad in 2023 after also signing a three-year contract.
"Tyrell is capable of playing fullback and wing and has exceptional skills in the air," Millward said.
"We are keen for him to develop physically which is why he will come into our full-time environment in 2021. Tyrell has real flair about him and will thrive on developing his physical attributes further. He has some exciting years ahead of him."
Front-rower Coric is one for the future having signed a four-year deal. He will join the development player squad ahead of the 2023 season.
"Josh has reached a level in his game that prompted the club to include him in our succession planning," Millward said. "He's a rough, tough front-rower from Albion Park down in Group 7 and he'll continue in our system which we're certainly excited for."
Shereb-Schmidt's four-year deal is yet another example of the importance the Dragons place on its external recruitment pathway system throughout country New South Wales.
Like Coric, back-rower Shereb-Schmidt has signed a four-year deal and will join the development player squad ahead of season 2023.
"Jackson is a young back-rower from Kandos who we sourced through our external recruitment pathway for our Harold Matthews team several years ago," Millward said.
"Jackson is tall and rangy, and a player we see can add a bit of size in the back row within our succession planning."
Haran added: "The [external recruitment pathway] highlights there are more than just one entry point to the Dragons' system outside of our local junior representative programs.
"An example of its success have been the Lomax and Feagai brothers who we first came into contact with when they were 13 in Temora and Leeton respectively.
"Zac (Lomax) is a great example of this pathway's success. He's someone who has found their feet in first grade, performed well and now finds himself in New South Wales' Origin squad."
The junior quartet's retention follows the re-signings of the Mat and Max Feagai, Josh Kerr, Jackson Ford, Mikaele Ravalawa and Adam Clune throughout 2020.