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St George Illawarra have announced Mat Head as its new NRL Women's Premiership head coach ahead of the upcoming 2021 competition.

Head's coaching achievements at the Dragons and abroad are extensive and include the 2013 SG Ball premiership win with the Balmain Tigers and the 2019 minor premiership with St George Illawarra's NSW Cup team.

Head had previously coached the New South Wales' women's State of Origin team in 2014 and 2015, where he awarded incumbent Dragons captain Kezie Apps with her maiden Blues jersey.

Currently, the 38-year-old is head coach of the inaugural Dragons Academy program.

"Mat is a really exciting appointment for our NRLW program. We thought the change was necessary for the program's success moving forward and Mat brings a lot of great qualities as a coach," Dragons general manager of football Ben Haran said.

"The women's game is becoming more and more professional so the opportunity to be able to allocate one of our full-time resources, who works within our men's program, to our NRLW team is a real asset for us as a club.

"We're keen to build a strong connection across both our men's and women's teams."

Head had a taste of Women's Premiership last season when he acted as an assistant to inaugural coach Daniel Lacey.

"I'm really looking forward to creating a winning and exciting culture but most importantly a culture that's professional and disciplined," Head said.

"Our men's team is going to some good places currently with Hook (coach Anthony Griffin) at the helm. I'm really excited and inspired by our NRL squad and am looking forward to transferring things across to our women's program. 

"There's a lot of improvement that can be achieved. Hopefully the girls buy into what it means to be a Dragon. That's one thing we have tried to instil in our Dragons Academy, and it's something I want to bring across to our women's program."

The commencement of the female Dragons academy is just weeks away and will be crucial for the future success of the club's NRL Women's Premiership fortunes, according to Head.

"The earlier you can get them, to explain the basics of the game, will be a great opportunity," Head said. "The academy will receive a lot of great coaching and as the years go on, hopefully they'll aspire to be an NRLW player."

Haran added: "The amount of women and young girls playing rugby league is growing rapidly. We recognise that we have a lot of talented young females playing our game across our regions.

"The introduction of our female Dragons Academy will ensure these young players get plenty of opportunities moving forward. We want to win NRLW competitions and that starts by having this new pathway in place for our young female talent."

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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