St George Illawarra general manager of football Ben Haran has provided a deeper insight into the Dragons' 2021 football department structure.
Haran – who has spent the past 11 years at the club in roles such as overseeing the high performance unit, lower grade assistant coach, recruitment and football operations – will head the football department.
Haran previously worked at the Melbourne Storm in a number of community and player development roles alongside experienced rugby league types Luke Ellis and Greg Brentnall. It was in Melbourne also where Haran first established a connection with long-term Storm general manager Frank Ponissi.
"My responsibilities are holistic in my role with the Dragons, across all the departments that help this great club operate," Haran said.
"Football is central to everything we do in the business. Key parts of that for me include recruitment and retention, coaching and athletic performance structures, player well-being and obviously junior development of which I'm very passionate about.
"The Dragons have a rich history of bringing players through to first grade. With our junior representative teams returning to the districts, there still remains a focus for me as far as how our NRLW, Jersey Flegg and NSW Cup operate and develop players."
Haran credited new Dragons head coach Anthony Griffin ahead of the club's 2021 campaign.
"2021 is going to be a big year at the Dragons due to the changes we have undertaken. There's a lot of things to be excited about as a club as a whole," Haran said.
"Anthony Griffin was a great appointment for us as a club; his experience and understanding of what it takes to bring young players through is undeniable. He, alongside assistant coaches Peter Gentle and Matt Elliott, already have a clear direction for the team and football department in place.
"Mat Head has returned in a full-time capacity as the Dragons' pathways coach. Collectively with Shaun Timmins, they will be responsible for the junior player recruitment. Shaun will also act in a pathways athletic development role as part of our new Dragons Academy initiative.
"To have two club legends overseeing our next generation of players coming through is really exciting."
Both Tony Guilfoyle and Dan Lawson will assume the responsibility of the Dragons' athletic performance program in 2021.
"Tony Guilfoyle has a great history working alongside Anthony Griffin at the Panthers and Broncos and will be our physical performance manager," Haran said.
"Alongside him will be Dan Lawson as our medical performance manager. Dan has played part in Dragons and Sharks' premiership wins in previous years and is currently NSW Origin's lead physiotherapist."
Haran also confirmed Ian Millward's focus will remain solely on NRL recruitment moving forward.
"We still have a number of spots available for our 2021 season. We'll be working on that over the coming months. Ian Millward's role now means he'll purely focus on NRL recruitment, alongside Anthony Griffin and myself," Haran said.
"Milward's role focus is an important shift because the NRL player market moves at a face pace and where we as a club spend the majority of our money."