The St George Illawarra Dragons have confirmed its 2021 NRLW Telstra Women's Premiership squad following the signing of seven additional players including dual international Alexandra Sulusi.
The former Jillaroo and Wallaroo will be joined by fellow rugby convert Natassja Purontakanen, Australian rugby sevens star Page McGregor, Dragons Academy playmaker Rachel Pearson, Janelle Williams, Shellie Long and Aliti Namoce-Sagano.
The talented septet completes the Dragons' NRLW squad for the rescheduled competition set to kick off in late-February.
"The squad has come together well and has a strong mix of experience and youth," NRLW head coach Jamie Soward said.
"What Mat Head and his staff did before handing over the reins was very impressive. You look at the athletes we have here at the Dragons like Emma Tonegato, Kezie Apps and Keeley Davis; they're all leaders in the squad.
"Then there's a lot of young girls that haven't even scratched the surface of the talent we can get out of them."
The experienced Sulusi joins the Dragons as one of rugby union's premier players, boasting multiple tests for the Wallaroos and two premierships for New South Wales in the Super W competition.
Former Queensland Reds forward Purontakanen is another key addition for the Red V, quickly making a name for herself after switching codes in 2021 and being selected in Queensland's State of Origin squad.
Prolific try-scorer and reigning Wests Tigers' NSW Women's Premiership Player of the Year McGregor also boasts a background in rugby union as the second-youngest woman to sign a full-time professional rugby sevens contract following a gold medal win at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games.
Fijian born Namoce-Sagano joins the Dragons already with NRLW experience. Namoce-Sagano debuted for the Sydney Roosters in 2019 despite only playing her first season of rugby league a year prior.
NSW Country Origin halfback Pearson's commitment cannot be doubted following a 700km relocation from Hay in name of keeping her NRLW aspirations alive, while Papua New Guinean centre Shellie Long scored eight tries in eight appearances in the BHP Premiership for the Burleigh Bears in 2021.
Experienced Williams rounds out the Dragons' 2021 NRLW squad. A core member of the Mounties, Williams featured in the 2018 and 2019 Harvey Norman Women's Premiership grand finals.
The Dragons can also confirm that NRLW premiership-winning Maroon and Jillaroo Meg Ward will join Soward's coaching staff after injury prevented her from signing a playing contract with the Red V.
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Final 2021 St George Illawarra Dragons' Telstra Women's Premiership squad:
- Elsie Albert
- Kezie Apps
- Madison Bartlett
- Shaylee Bent
- Teagan Berry
- Keele Browne
- Jaime Chapman
- Keeley Davis
- Quincy Dodd
- Tegan Dymock
- Taliah Fuimaono
- Talei Holmes
- Shellie Long
- Page McGregor
- Aliti Namoce-Sagano
- Rachael Pearson
- Natassja Purontakanen
- Shontelle Stowers
- Alexandra Sulusi
- Renee Targett
- Emma Tonegato
- Chantel Tugaga
- Holli Wheeler
- Janelle Williams
Rachel Pearson photo credit: Bryden Sharp (NSWRL)