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Jersey Flegg and the Dragons in 2007
Written by Dragons Media
27 October 2006

There has been some public discussion over the past weeks relating to the rugby league structure of the Dragons for 2007 and beyond. A decision, arising from discussions between the Board of Directors, Management, Coaching Staff and our Rugby League Executive, has been made to NOT ENTER a team in the New South Wales Rugby League’s Jersey Flegg competition in 2007.

We should note that discussion on such a strategic rugby league decision had been taking place for a long period of time. It was agreed that our Club should move quickly and effectively to prepare for the code’s overall re-structure, planned for 2008 which will see the introduction of the widely discussed National Youth Competition - an Under 20 competition where all NRL teams will have an Under 20 team to play prior to their matches for each of the 26 weeks of the regular season.

The “big picture” perspective on these changes related to the need to;

- establish a more “National” rugby league perspective in competitions, across all 16 NRL teams, not just NSW based teams
- re-structure the “NSW” rugby league competitions so they can continue to be effective for rugby league, from the grass roots to the elite level
- ensure that NRL Clubs continue to improve their financial viability

Therefore, the St George Illawarra Dragons will field only two competitive teams in 2007,

- Premier League

In 2008, the Under 20s will be back through the National Youth Competition, along with the NRL team … again only two teams fielded by the Dragons.

As normal, St George District Rugby League Club and the Illawarra Steelers will field Matthews and Ball teams in 2007 and beyond – a very important of our “Pathway Management”.

By 2008, the “Pathway” for rugby league players in the St George Illawarra region will be as depicted by the following chart

Thus, the overall change for rugby league players in the St George Illawarra region will relate to the “over aged” (Over 20) Premier League type player, not in the full-time NRL squad. Such players will be encouraged to continue their involvement in rugby league through the Toohey’s League or Jim Beam Cup or a re-structured Premier League Competition within our region – therefore being able to be elevated to the Dragons NRL team if required.

Next year will be a “transition year” because we still have some of those over age players on contract.

Overall, the Dragons for a number of years now, have invested heavily, strategically and effectively in the development of our juniors. This variation in structure does not undermine our commitment to this strategy and will not in any way diminish the opportunities for young elite rugby league players, across our region.

Moreover it will effectively prepare our Club for 2008 and work to ensure we remain a “powerhouse” in the game of rugby league from the “grass roots” level through to NRL.

On October 11, we wrote to all Dragons rugby league staff thanking them for their contributions throughout 2006 and asked for expressions of interest for positions in 2007, indicating that we would be running one less team (no Jersey Flegg in 2007) and we outlined the reasons why.

This internal correspondence was unfortunately leaked to the media before full and planned communication could be completed.

Dragons Management has had discussions with the executive of the St George District Rugby League Football Club and the Illawarra Steelers who support our strategy and we will be more widely communicating with the rugby league community over the next weeks.


Corrections and enquiries: [email protected]