St George Dragons News
Located just to the south of the state capital city of Sydney, St George are mixture of both the history of the sport in the country and its future as whilst its lineage can be traced back to the very early days of the sport, the current club was formed in 1998 after a merger.
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As a merged club, it is perhaps no surprise that Saints have 2 home grounds, with one been the former home of the Illawarra Steelers and one been the former home of the St George Dragons.
The clubs main home is the Wollongong Showground, the former home of the Steelers, which is located in the Wollongong district of Sydney.
The club other main home round is the Jubilee Oval (or the Kogarah Oval), which is located in the Kogarah district of Sydney.
There Wollongong home is the larger of the 2 and the most modern and it is there where the bigger home matches are played.
The club represent to the coastal region to the south of Sydney with a main focus on the Illawarra and St George areas but they have a large fanbase from across the south of the city.
The club were formed by a merger of the St George Dragons and the Illawarra Steelers as the sport struggled in the fall out of the Super League wars.
St George were one of the most historic teams in Australia after been established in 1920 and they were also one of the most successful in history after winning 15 Premierships, 15 Minor Premierships and they finished runners up on 12 occasion.
Incredibly the club won ever Premiership title between 1956-1966.
The Illawarra Steelers didn’t have the same level of history and success as they were only formed in 1980 and they never won a Premiership title.
The formation of the club came around due to the need to crop clubs at the end of the Super League wars and the fact that the Steelers were struggling financially.
The merger allowed St George to use their finances to gain acceptance into the new NRL competition whist gaining access to the much broader junior and fan base in the Illawarra region.
The joint-venture gained acceptance and became the first of its kind in Australia, so there was lots of interest in their early years from people waiting to see if they would be a success or failure.
The new club would lose their first outing to Parramatta but they would regroup and not only reach the play-offs in their first seaosn but they would go onto to reach the Grand Final, where they lost to a last minute penalty try to Melbourne in front of a record crowd of 107,999.
The 2002 seaosn was much tougher and included a record 70-10 loss against the Storm but they did respond in the second half of the season and they pick up a record win against New Zealand Warriors when they scored 54 points with no answer.
In 2006, the WIN Television Network bought a 25% share in the Illawarra Steelers club and that erased much of the debt they owed to St George and that helped matches to continue in Wollongong.
2009 saw Wayne Bennett take over as head coach and improved finances due to a new sponsor partnership with WIN and that helped them to bring in some big name stars.
That in turn saw an improvement in performances including a Minor Premiership win in 2009.
The mid-2000’s saw growing interest in the club from the UK due to the signings of Gareth Widdop and James Graham.
In 2018, the WIN Corporation purchased the remaining shares of the Illawarra Steelers to form a joint partnership with the St George Dragons who were then able to pay off a $6m debt to the NRL.
Since then the club went into every season full of expectation but they have rarely managed to live up to those expectation as despite having a number of big name stars, they have struggled in the league and failed to reach the end of season play-offs.
The club have had a number of off of the field issues which has left them without a number of players and whilst that hasn’t helped, the club have also struggled with management and direction.
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