Here is all you need to know about the St George Illawarra Dragons ahead of the 2022 Telstra Premiership season.
Coach Anthony Griffin has overseen a rapid overhaul of the St George Illawarra roster, with 12 members of the 2022 squad having joined the club since his appointment at the end of the 2020 season. The Dragons have some of the best emerging talent in the NRL and Griffin has surrounded them with experience, while ensuring depth across the park. He will also be looking for improved discipline - on and off the field - after the BBQ-gate scandal that was followed by eight consecutive losses to end the season and 16 judiciary charges during the season.
What excites you the most about 2022?
Possible best 17
1.Tyrell Sloan, 2. Mikaele Ravalawa, 3. Zac Lomax, 4. Talatau Amone, 5. Moses Suli, 6. Jayden Sullivan, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Blake Lawrie, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Jack de Belin, 11. Tariq Sims, 12. Jaydn Su’A, 13. Jack Bird. 14. Moses Mbye, 15. Josh Kerr, 16. Aaron Woods. 17. Josh McGuire.
Emotional Sloan remembers his NRL debut
After getting a taste of NRL action last season, Tyrell Sloan, Talatau Amone, Jayden Sullivan and the Feagai twins, Max and Mat, are expected to push for regular spots this season, while Griffin has bought in a host of new faces. Among them are former Test props Aaron Woods and George Burgess, Queensland Origin representatives Jaydn Su'A, Moses Mbye and Francis Molo, and former Manly pair Moses Suli and Jack Gosiewski. This is on top of the players bought to the club in the past 12 months, headed by Jack Bird, Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire and Billy Burns, while Jack de Belin will be looking forward to a full season. Matt Dufty, Paul Vaughan, Corey Norman, Cameron McInnes, Adam Clune and Jordan Pereira are the key departures. The backline appears fairly settled, with Sloan to replace Dufty and either Amone or Sullivan to take over the No.6 role from Norman but there is also the possibility of Bird shifting from centre to the backrow.
'The squad is building nicely': Hunt on pre-season training
McGuire will be missing for the first five matches after being charged with two separate high tackle offences in the final match of the season, while Burgess is attempting a come-back following a hip resurfacing operation that forced him into retirement last year. McCullough's 2021 campaign was prematurely ended by ankle surgery, while Hunt suffered a broken arm and thumb injury put an end to Lomax's season. All are expected to play in the trials.
'This club means a lot to me': Sullivan
Biggest question mark
Many of Griffin's signings have a point to prove after being unwanted by their previous clubs or struggling to hold down a regular spot so it remains to be seen what impact the likes of Woods, Mbye, Suli, Gosiewski and Tautau Moga will make next season. Burgess is a gamble after the injury he has had but if he can get anywhere near his best form the Englishman will be the buy of the season, given his bargain price tag. As important as results will be how the experienced players help the club's rising stars to reach their potential.
The Dragons start their campaign against the Warriors on the Sunshine Coast before home games against the Panthers and Sharks then the Eels away. It's a tricky start but if they can manage two wins from four that will provide a reasonable platform to build their season.
That round four trip to CommBank Stadium kicks off a tough month against four of last year's top eight, with the Rabbitohs (away), Knights (home) then Roosters (away) in wait. In fact a home game against Tigers in round eight is then immediately followed by a trip to Melbourne, meaning even two wins from the six games from round four will be an achievement.
What excites you most about 2022? Part 2
Make it count
After some tough games through the Origin period, the Dragons have a chance to go on a bit of a late-season run with six straight opponents who finished eighth or lower in 2021 to cap off their season, starting with the Cowboys in Kogarah.
NRL Fantasy: Dragons 2022 prices
Andrew McCullough: HOK, $679,000
Ben Hunt: HOK/HLF, $675,000
Jack De Belin: MID, $659,000
Josh McGuire: MID, $592,000
Mikaele Ravalawa: WFB, $582,000
Tariq Sims: EDG, $573,000
Jack Bird: CTR/EDG, $535,000
Blake Lawrie: MID, $523,000
Jaydn Su'A: EDG, $521,000
Zac Lomax: CTR, $499,000
Josh Kerr: MID/EDG, $482,000
Aaron Woods: MID, $478,000
Jayden Sullivan: HLF, $475,000
Francis Molo: MID, $443,000
Jackson Ford: MID/EDG, $439,000
Billy Burns: EDG, $422,000
Daniel Alvaro: MID, $411,000
Tyrell Fuimaono: EDG/MID, $398,000
Moses Suli: CTR, $396,000
Mathew Feagai: CTR, $390,000
Talatau Amone: HLF, $350,000
Tautau Moga: CTR, $350,000
George Burgess: MID, $350,000
Moses Mbye: CTR/WFB, $337,000
Max Feagai: CTR, $310,000
Cody Ramsey: WFB, $288,000
Jack Gosiewski: EDG, $274,000
Poasa Faamausili: MID, $272,000