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St George Illawarra have announced Elsie Albert, Teagan Berry, Jaime Chapman and Talei Holmes will return to the Dragons for the 2021 NRL Telstra Women's Premiership season.

The quartet's re-signing is the Dragons' first NRLW player announcement since the NRL confirmed the competition will now commence in October.

Papua New Guinea captain Albert, utility back Chapman and back-rower Holmes played every game for the Red V in 2020 while Illawarra Steelers Tarsha Gale Cup captain Berry achieved her NRLW debut last season.

Dragons NRLW coach Mat Head applauded Albert, Berry, Chapman and Holmes for their loyalty to the Red V.

"When determining our squad for the upcoming campaign we wanted to make sure we re-signed the right players from last season, those who wanted to don our jersey," Head said.

"All four players hold the club and the jersey close to their hearts and we wanted to repay the favour. They will play a big part in where we're going in the future and we're excited to have them back.

"To have Elsie from the start of pre-season unlike last year will only benefit her and the club. She's a powerful player and an international who will be a huge asset to our club.

"Talei has a big future at the Dragons and I can see representative football in the not-so-distant future. She's small in stature but puts her body on the line and is an important retention for the club.

"Jaime is a player who will bring excitement to the Dragons. Her versatility is a bonus and although we don't know where she'll play she will definitely have a spot in our backline which she will own.

"Teagan is one of our locals and is a significant signing given her progression through the club's junior pathways. She's a player with plenty of speed who will only go from strength to strength following her NRLW debut last year."

Berry won't be the only Illawarra Steelers' 2021 minor-premiership-winning player to make the jump to the first grade squad following confirmation that centre Keele Browne and back-rower Chantel Tugaga have also signed contracts with the Dragons.

Browne and Tugaga were inaugural members of the Dragons Female Academy and represented the New South Wales Under-19s Origin team alongside Berry and Chapman in June.

Head hailed the club's commitment to its junior representative pathways and the early benefits of the recently introduced academy.

"Keele and Chantel are an example of the early success of our female Dragons Academy. The one thing about our pathways is we're able to instil in them what it means to be a Dragon while we help them with parts of the game they need improving," Head said.

"I can see both of these girls making their NRLW debuts this season if they continue to put in the work at training. They have hit the ground running already and both have big futures ahead of them."

The Dragons have made 11 NRLW player announcements to date and will announce the remainder of the 2021 squad over the coming weeks.

St George Illawarra's NRL Telstra Women's Premiership squad (so far):

  • Elsie Albert
  • Kezie Apps
  • Shaylee Bent
  • Teagan Berry
  • Keele Browne
  • Jaime Chapman
  • Keeley Davis
  • Quincy Dodd
  • Talei Holmes
  • Chantel Tugaga
  • Holli Wheeler
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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