St George Illawarra today confirmed that the Club will play three pre-season matches in the lead-up to the 2011 season.

The Dragons will play the traditional Charity Shield against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Sunday, February 13, the Bulldogs on Friday, February 18 and the World Club Challenge against the Wigan Warriors on Sunday, February 27.

“The 2010 Premiership success and the subsequent option to play in the World Club Challenge necessitated changes to our original plans for the 2011 pre-season,” said Dragons CEO Peter Doust. After lengthy discussions and negotiations, I am very pleased to be able to confirm our 2011 pre-season arrangements.

“It has been important to take the necessary time to ensure that all arrangements with respect to the Charity Shield and the World Club Challenge were appropriate for our Club, in particular commitments with respect to travel, training and the commencement of the season proper,” added Doust.

“It was especially important given the 2011 Telstra Premiership scheduled away trips to the Gold Coast, New Zealand and Newcastle over the opening four rounds.

Dragons Coach Wayne Bennett was pleased to have the arrangements finalised and is looking forward to the 2011 season.

“It will be a challenging start to the year for us but I’m more than satisfied with the preparation we’ll have leading into both the World Club Challenge and the opening round of the 2011 season proper,” Bennett said.

“With my commitment to the NRL All-Stars I won’t be there for the lead-up to the Charity Shield but we will be going into that match with the best possible team available,” he added.

The team will depart for the United Kingdom on Saturday, February 19 and train in London and Manchester prior to the World Club Challenge.

St George-Illawarra Dragons Pre-Season Matches:
Sunday, February 13:
Charity Shield
St George Illawarra Dragons v South Sydney Rabbitohs (ANZ Stadium)

Friday, February 18:
St George-Illawarra Dragons v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (Venue TBC)

Sunday, February 27:
Gillette Fusion World Club Challenge
St George Illawarra Dragons v Wigan Warriors (DW Stadium, Wigan)