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The Dragons have pulled off another major signing coup with Kiwi Rugby Sevens star Tyla Nathan-Wong agreeing to join Jamie Soward’s NRLW squad for the upcoming season.

A two-time winner of the New Zealand Sevens Player of the Year, Nathan-Wong made her Sevens debut as a teenager back in 2012 and has gone on to represent her country on 195 occasions including at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and Sevens Rugby World Cups.

She helped the Black Ferns Sevens take home gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games before defending their crown at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Nathan-Wong said she is looking forward to linking up with the club and testing herself at NRLW level.

“I am excited to be jumping across the ditch and joining the NRLW,” she said.

“It will be a great opportunity to grow myself and my game on and off the field in a different sport, team, and environment,” she said.

“As an athlete, I love the challenge and growth that sport offers, so to be able to test myself in a different format and experience a new space to refresh is hugely exciting.”

Her rugby league ties are extensive and date back to her early years which included a stint as a ball-girl for the Warriors.

“I come from a big league family, so that’s where my love for league has always been. I’ve always loved league – it was my very first sport as a kid,” she said.

“When the NRLW first started, you know, a few years back, I was like, ‘man, that’s so cool’… That’s the perfect opportunity to finally allow this other dream of mine to come to fruition and to really jump head first into it.”

Whilst multiple clubs were chasing Nathan-Wong’s prized signature, it was the Dragons that ultimately won the race.

“There was a few different clubs that we kind of chatted to in the process… There was something about the Dragons. Jamie Soward, the coach, he just had a pretty awesome vibe about him and so did the other members of management,” she said.

“The drawcard too was also them signing Raecene McGregor who’s pretty much the in-form No.7 in the game… I want to learn as much as I can as quick as I can and I know I can learn a lot from her.”

She also mentioned the club’s focus on embracing individuals and culture as a key draw that attracted her to the Dragons.

“That was another thing with the Dragons. Obviously, Jamie Soward, the coach, he’s of an Indigenous background and that’s one question I had like, ‘what’s the culture like within the team?” she said.

“They’re big about not only players being able to be who they are and embrace their culture as well as embracing the other cultures around them, so that was massive for me.”

The 28-year-old is hoping to partner reigning NRLW Dally M Medallist McGregor in the halves as the Dragons look to leave their mark on the now 10-team competition.

Nathan-Wong joins the likes of McGregor, Bobbi Law, Sara Sautia, Roxy Murdoch-Masila and Angelina Teakaraanga Katoa on the list of recruits to have signed on with the Dragons for 2023.

Origin star Teagan Berry headlines the list of retained players which also includes Renee Targett, Tara McGrath-West, Page McGregor, Keele Browne and Zali Hopkins.

The Dragons kick their NRLW season off against defending premiers Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday 22 July.

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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