St George Illawarra Dragons 2017 Preview

  • Signings & Losses
  • Player Rankings
  • Strongest 17
  • Close Results Record
  • The Professor’s Prediction
  • Your Prediction

Signings & Losses

Signings: Cameron McInnes (South Sydney – HK), Nene Macdonald (Gold Coast – W), Paul Vaughan (Canberra – P)

All 3 major signings for the Dragons are great buys and all will be in the starting line-up each week but where is the halfback the club so badly needed?

Paul Vaughan is an outstanding player who found limited opportunities at the Raiders in 2016 such is the depth in the forward pack. At the Dragons, he shall see increased minutes and will flourish although The Profesor doesn’t believe he is worth the rumored amount he is on per year. McInnes is a straight swap for Rein and should find himself playing the full 80 each week. McGregor will need to change the Dragons style of play to get the best of the young hooker. Macdonald is an underrated player who will prove a great acquisition should he see enough ball. The only thing missing is a halfback and this could cost the Dragons and McGregor dearly.

Losses: Mike Cooper (ESL – P), Ben Creagh (Retired – P), Benji Marshall (Brisbane – FE), Mitch Rein (Penrith – HK), Dunamis Lui (Canberra – LK), Adam Quinlan (ESL – FB), Dylan Farrell (Retired – C)

The management team has done a small clean out telling the like of Marshall, Rein and Cooper that their services are no longer required in 2017. Marshall was somewhat understandable but both Rein and Cooper are strange ones considering they have been the standout performers in previous seasons. In saying this both McInnes and Vaughan are straight replacements for the two of them and are more than capable replacements. Ben Creagh was forced into retirement with a knee injury after an outstanding career in the red and white which spanned 270 games along with state and national honors.


Player Rankings

Player Age 2016 Position 2016 Games Played 2016 Position Rank
Euan Aitken 22 C 22 16
Timoteo Lafai 26 C 18 29
Taane Milne 22 C 7 42
Izaac Thompson 21 C DNP DNP
Levi Dodd 27 C DNP DNP
Josh Dugan 27 FB 17 15
Matt Dufty 21 FB DNP DNP
Gareth Widdop 28 FE 24 10
Shaun Nona 27 FE DNP DNP
Drew Hutchison 22 HB 1 11
Josh McCrone 30 HB 7 21
Cameron McInnes 23 HK 19 12
Jake Marketo 28 HK 18 27
Siliva Havili 24 HK 10 37
Jack de Belin 26 LK 21 6
Hame Sele 21 LK DNP DNP
Paul Vaughan 26 P 20 14
Tariq Sims 27 P 16 19
Russell Packer 28 P 22 23
Leeson Ah Mau 28 P 21 27
Luciano Leilua 21 P 5 89
Jacob Hind 25 P DNP DNP
Mose Masoe 28 P DNP DNP
Tyson Frizell 26 SR 21 16
Joel Thompson 29 SR 20 20
Jacob Host 21 SR 8 61
Will Matthews 29 SR 20 64
Tyrone McCarthy 29 SR 2 65
Chris Lewis 25 SR DNP DNP
Josh Kerr 21 SR DNP DNP
Kurt Mann 24 W 13 16
Jason Nightingale 31 W 24 24
Kalifa Faifai Loa 27 W 11 38
Nene Macdonald 23 W 23 42
Kiti Glymin 24 W DNP DNP

Strongest 17

1. Josh Dugan
2. Kurt Mann
3. Euan Aitken
4. Nene Macdonald
5. Jason Nightingale
6. Gareth Widdop
7. Josh McCrone
8. Leeson Ah Mau
9. Cameron McInnes
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Tyson Frizell
12. Joel Thompson
13. Jack de Belin

14. Russell Packer
15. Tariq Sims
16. Jake Marketo
17. Jacob Host

Close Results Record

Wins: 7

Losses: 3

The Professor’s Prediction

McGregor has been copping some flack from previous players, fans and media alike. His job is well and truly on the line and if he can’t get the results in the opening few rounds he is sure to find his way out the door.

A halfback was on every Dragons fans’ wish list for 2017, instead, the club dished out a considerable amount on Ben Hunt to join the side in 2018. With Drew Hutchinson suffering a season-ending injury the club will fall back on Josh McCrone for the coming season who will struggle in an NRL side which had the 3rd worst attack, scoring an average of just 14.2 points per game,  in 2016.

The Dragons roster doesn’t lack talent with some big names within the side, what they do lack is an attacking spark which will see them suffer. Dugan isn’t a ball player, McCrone is a reserve grader, McInnes was below average in both try assists and line break assists in 2016 leaving Widdop with all the attacking responsibility. Add in a defensively structured coach and the Professor can’t see the Dragons getting close to the eight.

Verdict – 15th

Your Prediction

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