St George Dragons Rugby League History
TO KIAMA - THE 'BIG BACKYARD'
when you really look at it Illawarra has produced a hell of a
lot of footballers to come up and play with St George. So I do
not condemn St George and Illawarra merging because Illawarra
has got a big backyard down there with a lot of junior footballers
- Graeme Langlands (Wollongong
junior, former St George captain-coach and Rugby League Immortal)
1999, St George and Illawarra joined forces and took the
field as the St George Illawarra Dragons.
joint venture made official a long association between the
two districts that could be traced back to the 1920s.
Full team 1999,
click on pic (112 Kb)
the Illawarra Steelers' 17 seasons in the first grade was
over, the agreement ensured that top grade rugby league
would continued to be played in the Illawarra as the junior
base extended from Kogarah to Kiama and beyond.
The joint venture agreement (signed
squad of 25 players: 13 from St George and 12 from Illawarra.
club captaincy of 1999: co-captains Nathan Brown
and Paul McGregor.
co-coaches shall be David Waite and Andrew
St George jersey with the Red V shall be retained.
nickname shall be 'The Dragons'.
and shorts will resemble the Steelers old design.
juniors will be shared.
shall receive much needed funding from St George.
games to be shared equally between the districts of
St George and Wollongong.
George and Illawarra shall retain their district first
team shall be known as The St George Illawarra
NEW LOOK DRAGONS RE-UNITE WITH
George junior, Brad Mackay has re-united with the Dragons.
He left St George for the Western Reds in 1994. After the Reds'
demise, he linked up with Illawarra and then did the full circle
with the creation of the joint venture.
In 1999, the Dragons came from sixth position in the minor
premiership to qualify for grand final, eventually completing
the season in second position.
AND PARRA PLAY AT STADIUM AUSTRALIA
104,000 SEE LAUNCH OF NEW STADIUM
Australia Homebush, 6 March 1999: A
massive crowd of 104,583 were on hand to see Rugby League's double
header and Saints and Parramatta begin their seasons at the brand
new Olympic facility, Stadium Australia.
Pic above: National anthem at Stadium Australia with Brad
Mackay (front) flanked by Paul McGregor, Lance Thompson,
Darren Treacy became the first
try scorer for the new joint venture but victory on the night
went to Parramatta 20-10.
& CANBERRA IN THRILLER
CONVERSION SEES SAINTS 1ST VICTORY OF 1999
Bruce Stadium, 20 March 1999:
A dramatic try to Rod Wishart and late conversion to
Wayne Bartrim has seen the Dragons pull off their first
win of the year by 16-14 in front of a crowd of 11,096. Saints
had previously lost their opening two rounds.
With just minutes remaining, Nathan
Brown put up a cross field bomb and found Wishart leaping
high to score out wide. Bartrim lined up the conversion and slotted
the difficult kick to give Saints a two point victory.
MOST EXCITING TEAM OF 1999
BEATH SHOWS THE PASSION
April 1999: In a highly publicised incident, St George
legend Barry Beath was involved in a punch up at
Cronulla Leagues Club.
The former forward stepped
in when Cronulla Chief Executive, Peter Gow attacked
a young St George supporter with scissors and proceeded
to cut up his Dragons jersey. Stunned onlookers reported
that the incident was without provocation and that Gow
was acting in an 'uncontrolled manner'.
Barry copped a punch in
the face for his troubles but Gow was later forced to
resign after investigations found that he defaced a St
George jersey and assaulted a club patron.
1999, the Dragons almost pulled off a remarkable
year when they made the semi-finals and appeared unstoppable as
they suddenly hit top form. Without a doubt, they were the team
to watch throughout the season
as they posted some dramatic wins on the back on some excellent
attacking play. Coming into the semis, Saints were in 6th position.
They swept through the semis with wins over Melbourne (34-10),
Easts (28-18) and Cronulla (24-8). They went into the Grand Final
as favourites having defeated their opponents, Melbourne twice
throughout the year. In fact, since joining the competition in
1998, Melbourne had never beaten St George and they appeared to
be a team which had already exceeded their expectations by making
the Grand Final.
the forwards dominated their opponents, the backs let loose. Stand
outs included Jamie Ainscough (pic right),
Nathan Blacklock who was the competition's leading try
scorer, and Anthony Mundine who often showed a tremendous
turn of speed to devastate his opponents.
LOSE GRAND FINAL 20-18
RECORD CROWD 107,000 - CONTROVERSIAL
Australia, 26 September 1999: In what was perhaps the most
controversial Grand Final in living memory, Saints have lost the
lead and the match just minutes from full time courtesy of a penalty
The first half belonged to the Dragons with a try
to Craig Fitzgibbon and a brilliant 70-metre solo try to
Blacklock (pic left). Blacklock showed his class from
the stand-in position of fullback when Storm half back, Brett
Kimmorley thought he saw Blacklock standing too deep and he decided
to chip-kick ahead. Dramatically, Blacklock swooped on the bouncing
ball on his 30 metre line and within the space of a second was
bursting through for an unopposed run to the line - bringing the
crowd of 107,999 to it's feet.
At half time Saints were dominating and it was
Melbourne came out in the second half all fired
up and got back to 14-6 down. A try to Paul McGregor put
Dragons up by 18-6 and with 20 minutes to go, Dragons supporters
could almost touch the trophy.
However, in an incredible turn of events, Saints
let their grasp slip as Melbourne were given almost free rein
by referee Bill Harrigan. While there is no disputing the
match winning penalty try and Storm's ability to get back into
the match, supporters were alarmed by the high rate of referee
errors which favoured Melbourne in the second half.
final controversy was heart breaking for Saints supporters when
the referee correctly ruled a head high
tackle against Jamie Ainscough on Smith who would have
scored [pic right]. The subsequent penalty try saw the Storm with
a conversion right in front and a two point victory. Afterwards,
there was barely enough time for the kickoff.
StGeorge-Illawarra Dragons 18
(Fitzgibbon, McGregor, Blacklock tries. Bartrim
2/3, Fitzgibbon 1/1 goals)
Melbourne Storm 20
(Martin, Roarty tries + Smith penalty try. Smith
3/4, Geyer 1/1 goals)
ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
PATTEN, Nathan BLACKLOCK, Paul McGREGOR (c),
Shaun TIMMINS, Jamie AINSCOUGH,
Anthony MUNDINE, Trent BARRETT, Wayne BARTRIM, Lance THOMPSON,
Darren TREACY, Craig SMITH (c), Nathan BROWN, Chris LEIKVOLL
Interchange: Craig FITZGIBBON,
Colin WARD, Brad MACKAY, Rod WISHART.
David WAITE & Andrew FARRAR
ROSS, Craig SMITH, Aaron MOULE, Tony MARTIN, Marcus BAI, Matt
GEYER, Brett KIMMORLEY, Tawera NIKAU, Stephen KEARNEY, Paul MARQUET,
Rodney HOWE, Richard SWAIN, Glenn LAZARUS (c), Interchange Matt
RUA, Russell BAWDEN, Ben ROARTY, Danny WILLIAMS
Coach: Chris ANDERSON
14min Dragons 6-0 (C Fitzgibbon
try, W Bartrim goal) 23min Dragons 8-0 (C Fitzgibbon goal) 30min
Dragons 14-0 (N Blacklock try, W Bartrim goal) 42min Dragons 14-2
Smith goal) 54min Dragons 14-6
(T Martin try) 56min Dragons18-6 (P McGregor try) 58min Dragons
18-12 (B Roarty try, C Smith goal) 64min Dragons 18-14 (C Smith
goal) 77min Storm 20-18 (C Smith penalty try, M Geyer goal)
8 in semis)
(St George-Illawarra joint venture.
Gold Coast & Adelaide gone).
p = Season Premiers
| AFTER 26 ROUNDS
Points For 588
(3rd best attack)
Points Against 416
(6th best defence)
Points For 104
Points Against 56
Points For 692
121t 104g 0fg
Points Against 472
80t 75g 2fg