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Berry doubles up to headline Dragons NRLW Awards

Dragons fullback Teagan Berry was recognised for her sensational campaign at the club’s NRLW Awards on Sunday afternoon in Wollongong notching a pair of honours including the NRLW Player of the Year Award.

She was also named the Red V Members NRLW Player of the Year in her first season at the back for head coach Jamie Soward.

"She's a special person," Soward said in presenting the awards.

"One thing I've loved about her, there was a moment after the Wests Tigers game (a late 20-16 win in round five), it was emotional, we won, I sat down next to her and she was filthy about a thing that happened in the first half and that gives me goosebumps when one of your star players analyses themselves hard because she's going to be driving standards for the next couple of years."

The awards capped off an already incredible few days for the 21-year-old who earnt a call-up into the Prime Minister’s XIII before inking a contract extension that will see her remain at the club until at least the end of 2025.

Berry picks up double honours at the 2023 Dragons NRLW awards

"I feel like there's something building here," Berry said.

"I'm really excited to see what the future holds for this club.

"I'd like to thank the club for what they've done for me in the past few years.

"Obviously Jamie Soward. I give him enough raps but he's been awesome for me. It's been good to play with Ty and Rae (halves Tyla Nathan-Wong and captain Raecene McGregor), they're such good leaders and have been really good for us this season.

"Hopefully we can keep building. I'm really excited for what the future holds for us."

2023 proved a coming-of-age season for Berry who finished atop the NRL’s try-scoring leaderboard with 11 whilst also finishing first in total runs, second in run metres, fourth in tackle breaks and fifth in line breaks.

She also became the first player in NRLW history to score 20 career tries and made history as the first Dragon to score four tries in a single game in Round 6.

The Dragons’ young talent was on full display this season with a pair of the club’s standout teenagers in Ella Koster and Alexis Tauaneai also getting their hands on some silverware.

Koster earnt the NRLW Emerging Talent nod whilst Tauaneai received the Coach’s Award.

A highly touted local who captained the Steelers’ Tarsha Gale Cup squad earlier in the year, Koster enjoyed a sublime rookie campaign appearing in all but one outing and notching a pair of four-pointers.

Ella Koster poses with the Dragons NRLW Emerging Talent Award.
Ella Koster poses with the Dragons NRLW Emerging Talent Award.

Injuries saw the 18-year-old catapulted into the run-on side midseason and she did not skip a beat having played the full 70 in four of her five starts and making 192 total tackles at almost 90 per cent efficiency.

Tauaneai, on the other hand, proved to be a workhorse middle forward early on in her rookie season averaging 148 run metres per game and making 213 tackles at 96 per cent efficiency in her seven starts before unfortunately succumbing to a season-ending knee injury.

"I got a chance to meet her this year, it took some convincing to tell her how good she was but she's been a star on our team," Soward said of the hard-working lock.

"When I watch her play I see a leader every single week. I've asked her to do different things, get different stuff in her game and she's been able to do that. She's quickly becoming a person everyone loves to play with."

Alexis Tauaneai photographed with the Dragons NRLW Coach's Award.
Alexis Tauaneai photographed with the Dragons NRLW Coach's Award.

In a season which saw 15 players make their NRLW debuts for the Red V, Koster and Tauaneai both proved valuable contributors for Soward’s new-look squad.


2018: Holli Wheeler
2019: Jessica Sergis
2020: Shaylee Bent
2021: Elsie Albert & Emma Tonegato
2022: Holli Wheeler
2023: Teagan Berry

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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