2020 SEASON REVIEW | St George Illawarra Dragons

St George Illawarra Dragons 2020 season was frustrating for loyal supporters as they failed to challenge in this years competition.

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2020 Club Record

Wins: 7
Losses: 13
Competition Points: 14

2020 Player Achievements

Most Tries: 13 – Mikaele Ravalawa, Matt Dufty, Zac Lomax
Most Points: 178 – Zac Lomax

Season Summary

St George Illawarra Dragons finished the 2019 season in a battle for the wooden spoon. This placed a lot of pressure on coach Paul McGregor leading into the start of the 2020 season. Many experts weren’t surprised to see them languishing at the bottom after the first month of footy. What surprised many were the lacklustre performances of many of their representative players, which brought a lot of attention and scrutiny centred in on the club. While some instant changes saw a slight improvement, it wasn’t enough to save Paul McGregor’s position at the club or prevent the club from falling back into a rut, as they finished the season with another run of losses. The Dragons finished slightly higher than their 2019 season and – while still finishing in a position that many people expected – their performances left a lot of people wondering the future on-field direction of the club.

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The Dragons attack was carried by the brilliance of Zac Lomax and Matt Dufty. The pair combined for most of the Dragons tries with Mikaele Ravalawa the main benefactor from this attacking partnership. It took a while for these two players to find their spot in the position but, once they settled into fullback and right centre respectively, they helped improve certain facets of the Dragons attack. The Dragons youngsters given a limited opportunity at the backend of the year with players such as Cody Ramsey, Jayden Sullivan, and Max Feagai debuting this season. There has been criticism on how the Dragons have nurtured their juniors in recent years and how they are used going forward will be a focus on the incoming coach.

2020 was the final season for Paul McGregor with Anthony Griffin named as his successor. Anthony Griffin was last head coach of a Penrith Panthers side in the top 4 when he was sacked. Anthony Griffin’s hard nosed style has led to a lot of uncertainty if this selection was the correct one for the Dragons to make but with recent interviews there is no denying that Griffin is ready for the challenge. He handled the nursery of players at the Panthers – with Gould in the background – but the verdict is still out on how he has improved since he last coached in the NRL.

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Griffin has been quick to add a few players to his 2021 roster while still backing the squad he has to be competitive for next season. With some long standing players let go – and some juniors added to the full time squad – it will be interesting whether Griffin can create a better blend of juniors and experienced players. He has added to his pack with the signing of Poasa Faamausili and has been vocal about his search for a few more forwards. Jack Bird has recently signed to return to his junior club with little details on where exactly he would fit into the 17. Though the first priority for Bird is to get back to full health. Griffin has high hopes for the squad he’s assembling but from the outside it looks like a great change is needed to shift the Dragons into premiership contenders.

NothingButLeague Player of the Season

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Cameron McInnes is inching closer to making his NSW debut and – quite possibly – his Australian debut in the upcoming World Cup. Cameron McInnes has lead the Dragons for the last few years through his performances, which present a stark contrast to some other players at the club. McInnes continually leaves nothing out on the field, finishing each match with an average of 53 tackles and a tackle efficiency of 95%. His swap from hooker to lock throughout the year didn’t impact his work ethic in the middle of the field. He ran over 120 metres a match but brought a heart and soul to the side that only a few other players bought into.

2021 GAINS AND LOSSES

Gains

Junior Amone (2023), Jack Bird (Brisbane Broncos, 2022), Poasa Faamausili (Sydney Roosters), Tyrell Sloan (2023)

Losses

Euan Aitken (New Zealand Warriors), Tyson Frizell (Newcastle Knights), James Graham (retired), Jacob Host (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Tim Lafai (released), Joe Lovodua (released), Issac Luke (Brisbane Broncos), Tristan Sailor (released)

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