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CEO update (January 2021)

Dear Red V members and corporate partners,

Welcome to 2021. I hope this message finds you safe and well after an enjoyable Christmas/New Year break.

As was the case for much of 2020, we do not know how our operations will be influenced by COVID-19 and what protocols may need to be put in place to allow our season to go ahead. We will continue to work with the government and NRL to get the game going while keeping our players, staff and communities safe.

There are some very positive signs across the club, both from the football and commercial departments, which show that our planning and efforts are having an impact.

Football

Players have been back training since January 4 and there is a positive atmosphere running through the place. Players are fit and energised and the new football department staff are working very well together.

Our playing list currently sits at 27 (including Jack de Belin) leaving us with three spots to fill.

The addition of Daniel Alvaro has been good for the club; he adds depth in an important area for us and brings great character. We also have a young player from the Queensland Cup called Jaiyden Hunt on a train and trial contract who is also worth keeping an eye on.

Our recruitment and retention team have been very busy, and we hope to announce some key movements soon. Underlying all the work we do in this space is the drive to create a culture of success and the mantra of always doing what is best for the club.

List management is not always easy as personalities and emotions can often come into play, but coach Anthony Griffin has been very clear on what is required to be successful and we are doing all we can to build the squad he needs to achieve this.

We have three trial matches scheduled but unfortunately the two in Sydney are likely to be closed off to the public due to COVID-19. The Charity Shield is once again set to be played at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Stadium on February 27. The match is proving to be very popular with the current allotment of tickets made available to the public already sold out.

We look forward to welcoming a big crowd along to our first home game against the Sharks on March 14.

Red V Membership

It was pleasing to break through the 10,000-member barrier prior to the Christmas break.

There is a very positive feel around the club, on field and off, and I ask that any members that are yet to renew or any fans that are looking to get on board as a member for the first time to please reach out to our membership team.

Membership is one of the key pillars of the club. Not only from a financial standpoint, but a large membership base engenders camaraderie, pride, passion and positive energy.

I think a club such as the Dragons should be at the top end of the NRL membership tally and it is our aim to get there. We know that positive changes are happening and in time the results will show. I hope in time this will lead to more members joining us for the ride.

As I have said in the past, I encourage everyone to sign up as a member in 2021 as we want you all to be a part of the exciting journey we are about to undertake.

Merchandise

The sales of our 2021 merchandise range have been phenomenal. The volume of merchandise sold hasn't been seen since our grand final win in 2010. This success has been complemented by our new apparel partner Classic Sportswear, our consumer business team who recently upgraded the Dragons' online team store as well as some savvy work from our marketing team.

Thank you to the members and fans who have bought our apparel to display their Dragons support with pride.

Corporate partners

We have recently signed some new major partners, one will be on our sternum and the other on our head coach’s apparel. It is great to have good corporate sponsors that can see where we are heading as a club and choose to join us. Keep an eye out for the official announcements shortly and please support our partners where you can.

NRL Women's Premiership

To strengthen our position in women's rugby league, we are in the midst of establishing a Female Dragons Academy that will run alongside our current boys’ pathway program.

This will lead to the better identification of talented young female footballers from our regions as well as improved development programs.  This is all done with the goal of having a highly competitive NRLW team made up of great local talent.

Final notes

As many people know, 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the St George District Rugby League Club and there will be a number of activities that the Dragons will play part in throughout the year to help celebrate this.

The first item that you would have seen is the production of a heritage jersey which is based on the 'blood and bandages' design that St George wore in their early years. The Dragons will wear this heritage jersey in our Round 9 clash against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah.

More activities will be announced as they are finalised in conjunction with St George District's History Committee.

It seems like we only just wrapped up the 2020 season, but it is now only a few weeks before our first trial match. A lot has changed over the summer and there seems to be genuine optimism around the club.

Another positive ahead of the new season concerns discussions we have had with former player James Graham, who will soon commence a number of roles at the Dragons including in our partnerships team and rugby league program. 

My aim is to continue to send out these CEO updates every second month in hope that they continue to provide insight into the happenings of our club.

I want you to know there is plenty of good work being done through every department, but we are under no illusions that there is still plenty more to do if we are to get the Dragons back to where they belong, atop the NRL premiership ladder.

Yours faithfully,

Ryan Webb
CEO