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CEO update - January, 2022

Dear Red V members and corporate partners,

Happy New Year to you all.

As the season nears it seems that we have another unique time ahead as the challenges of COVID-19 continue.

The club will continue to do everything to ensure the safety of our players, staff and community while at the same time preparing our club for successful NRL and NRLW campaigns.

All players and staff have been subjected to further protocols dictated by the NRL and their Apollo register initiative. These protocols will remain in place for the foreseeable future and include daily testing and restrictions on movements and household visitors for those on the club's Apollo register. We are taking these protocols very seriously to ensure that any potential hinderance to our training and preparation is minimised.

Away from the training paddock we continue to make great strides. For a second straight year the Dragons have posted a profit despite having our final five homes games of the 2021 season relocated interstate.

Along with the consecutive profits we have a positive balance sheet and two shareholders that are financially strong, stable and supportive. This puts the club in a position where we can look for innovative areas to invest in our football and commercial operations in ways that will ultimately help us become one of the top clubs in the competition.

NRL

Our list has taken shape to the point where all our players have some level of NRL game experience.

Looking at other professional competitions across the world, depth in your playing stocks is likely to play an important role in each club's competitiveness as COVID-19 interrupts players' training and game availability.

Currently we have 28 players in our Top 30 squad with hope of upgrading one of our development players shortly. This will give us a deep list while still having one Top 30 and two to three development positions available to fill if the right player(s) become available.

The somewhat recent extensions of Mat Feagai, Max Feagai and Jayden Sullivan are a great step forward for the club. We view all three juniors as both highly talented and of great character among a great crop of young players who will drive us forward in the years ahead.

We will continue to refine our list for 2022 while at the same time shaping things for 2023 with re-signings and the targeting of selected free agents.

NRLW

Our NRLW team is taking great shape under the tutelage of coach Jamie Soward. The girls commenced pre-season training on January 10 and have hit the ground running in their preparations for the postponed 2021 season.

The team kicks off their campaign in Newcastle as part of a triple header of matches in late February before heading back to Wollongong for their Round 2 clash against the Parramatta Eels on March 6 (part of another triple header).

We're also excited to be hosting a stand-alone NRLW match at Kogarah's Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday, March 26 where we are hoping for a big and boisterous home crowd to cheer the team.

Red V membership

Our membership is currently on sale and the numbers have been encouraging as the season quickly approaches with over 11,000 members signed up.

A couple of key dates to keep in mind:

  • January 19 – Same seat renewal deadline: Members who wish to retain their seating allocation are required to renew by this deadline.
  • February 19 – Members only training session: This session is planned to take place at Kogarah pending NRL Apollo approval. We're aiming to still have member events this season and we’re working to make them as safe for players and members as possible.

Finally, a big thank you to the members who have donated to the Dragons Foundation and Score Dragons projects. 

Corporate partners

Recently we announced the commitment of two key partners in HWL Ebsworth Lawyers and Modus Projects. We greatly appreciate the support of all our partners and you’ll see the logos of these two proudly displayed on the iconic Red V jersey again this year.

We also welcome some new partners in Energetic Lighting, St.George Food Distributors, ELMO Software and Our Cow. It's great to have them on board and I encourage all members and fans to support them whenever possible. 

After the last two interrupted season we're looking to welcoming back all our corporate guests to our home game days. We have an array of corporate options available at both Kogarah and Wollongong and in addition to this, as the hosts of the traditional Anzac Day clash this year, we also have some wonderful options for corporate guests at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Community

The St George Illawarra Dragons are very excited about our 2022 Best You Can Be resource and will again be looking to have over 100 schools involved

To date, an encouraging 55 schools and over 180 classrooms have joined back up to take part in the program throughout 2022. Our aim as always is to support and encourage youth to make positive choices around health, education and social issues.

We are thrilled that Joanne Niki's artwork 'Commitment' is the winner of the Dragons' 2022 indigenous jersey design competition, as selected by the club's Reconciliation Action Plan Committee, staff, players and local elders.

Indigenous art is centred on story telling. It is used as a chronical to convey knowledge of the land, events and beliefs of the Aboriginal people and important cultural stories through the generations.

The Dragons will wear their indigenous jersey twice in 2022; Round 12 against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (Indigenous Round) and Round 15 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs (our next home game following Indigenous Round).

In conclusion

The Dragons' board, executive team and staff are working hard to set the Dragons up for a great 2022 and we hope that there will be plenty of opportunities for members and fans to connect with the club in ways that have been difficult in recent times.

I'm sure you are all looking forward to seeing the Red V out at our home grounds again particularly with the season just around the corner.

Our first home game against Penrith at Kogarah in Round 2 will be an important day for many reasons but none more so than to give everyone associated with our club the opportunity to pay tribute to NRL Immortal Norm Provan.

It goes without saying that Provan played a crucial role in founding club St George's 'Never Before, Never Again' era, playing part in 10 of the 11 successive grand final victories (1956-66), the latter five in which he acted as captain-coach.

As always, please take care and do everything you can to ensure those near and dear to you remain healthy and safe.

Yours faithfully,

Ryan Webb
CEO - St George Illawarra Dragons

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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