2008 St. George Illawarra Dragons season

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2008 St. George Illawarra Dragons season
NRL Rank 7th
2008 record Wins: 13; Draws: 0; Losses: 11
Points scored For: 495; Against: 416
Team information
Coach Australia Nathan Brown
Captain
Stadium

WIN Jubilee Oval

WIN Stadium
Top scorers
Tries Josh Morris (14)
Goals Jamie Soward (54)
Points Jamie Soward (129)
2009 >

The 2008 St. George Illawarra Dragons season was the 10th in the joint venture club's history. They competed in the NRL's 2008 Telstra Premiership and finished the regular season 7th out of 16 teams, being knocked out in the finals by eventual premiers, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.

NRL Telstra Premiership[edit]

Having failed to bring the club a premiership during his current tenure with the Dragons and coming off contract at the end of the year, Coach Nathan Brown has had heat on him from 2007 to bring the Dragons up and away from the bottom of the ladder. Since the start of the 2008 season, the Dragons have had, once again, loss after loss which has caused Peter Doust (Dragons CEO), to bring in a new coach in the case of Brisbane Broncos current coach Wayne Bennett for the 2009 season up until 2011. The Dragons started the 2008 season by winning the Mercury Challenge match against the Bulldogs 40-30 at WIN Stadium in Wollongong and winning their first Toyota Cup trial match against Bulldogs at 30-22. The following week the Dragons went down to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the annual Charity Shield clash 24-20 at ANZ Stadium.

The club received a boost in May when former Union and League (Brisbane Broncos) star Wendell Sailor joined the team after a 2-year ban from professional sport in Australia due to his cocaine controversy. The Dragons started another year with disappointing results when they only won three times after 10 rounds, defeating the Gold Coast Titans in Round 2, the Sydney Roosters in Round 7 and the Melbourne Storm in Round 10 all with terrific results. On 23 May, the Dragons recorded their first back-to-back wins of the season when they defeated the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval with a final score of 20-18.

The Dragons new winger Wendell Sailor made his NRL return in this match also sustaining a minor cheekbone injury. The club also signed South Sydney Rabbitohs player Ben Rogers from an immediate release to join the Dragons on 12 June but released Jason Ryles from his contract to join the Catalans Dragons in the English Super League for 2009.[1] Days later they signed New Zealand international and Melbourne Storm player Jeremy Smith for three seasons.

Their 7-game winning streak came to an end in Round 18 when they were defeated by the Canberra Raiders 19-12 at WIN Stadium for the Illawarra Heritage Match. On 15 July, it was announced that captain Mark Gasnier would not be returning after the end of the 2008 season to join the Stade Français Rugby Union team in France. The deal is worth around $1 million a year.

After 1 win in their last 5 games, the Dragons defeated the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium with a 24-20 win. Then in Round 24, they defeated the New Zealand Warriors 34-6 at WIN Stadium, Wollongong to keep their finals hopes alive. The dragons were favoured to defeat the Roosters in round 26 to either finish fourth or fifth. They had been playing widespread open football and Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper were carving up the opposition. In extremely wet conditions, the Roosters pack were more favoured to the conditions. They finished the regular season 7th place on the ladder which could have been 6th if they scored at least 2 points in their Round 26 match with the Sydney Roosters. They made it to the first week of the finals, but lost to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 34-6 at Brookvale Oval being eliminated from the Finals Series due to their lowly position in the Top 8.

The club went on a 'signing spree' purchasing Neville Costigan, Darius Boyd and Luke Priddis among others, but lost flyer Josh Morris (Bulldogs), Mark Gasnier (French Rugby), Jason Ryles (French league), Rangi Chase (ESL), Lagi Setu (Broncos) and Simon Woolford & Kirk Reynoldson with retirement.

Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
7th (of 16) 24 13 0 11 2 489 378 111

2008 Match Results[edit]

*From Round 5 onwards, all games are in AEST.

Round Home Score Away Match Information
Date and Time Venue
Trial St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 40-30 Canterbury colours.svg Bulldogs 23 February 2008, 7:30pm AEDT WIN Stadium
CS St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 20-24 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 1 March 2008, 8:00pm AEDT ANZ Stadium
1 Wests Tigers colours.svg Wests Tigers 24-16 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 16 March 2008, 3:00pm AEDT Sydney Football Stadium
2 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 30-12 Gold Coast Titans colours.svg Gold Coast Titans 24 March 2008, 7:00pm AEDT WIN Stadium
3 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 21-14 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 29 March 2008, 7:30pm AEDT Canberra Stadium
4 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 16-18 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla Sharks 5 April 2008, 5:30pm AEDT ANZ Stadium
5 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 16-20 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland Cowboys 12 April 2008, 5:30pm WIN Stadium
6 Canterbury colours.svg Bulldogs 30-18 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 19 April 2008, 5:30pm ANZ Stadium
7 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 26-6 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Roosters 25 April 2008, 3:15pm ANZ Stadium
8 BYE
9 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 19-18 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 11 May 2008, 3:00pm ANZ Stadium
10 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 36-12 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 17 May 2008, 7:30pm ANZ Stadium
11 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 18-20 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 23 May 2008, 7:45pm Brookvale Oval
12 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 12-26 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 1 June 2008, 2:00pm ANZ Stadium
13 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 28-10 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 6 June 2008, 7:45pm WIN Stadium
14 BYE
15 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 13-12 Penrith colours.svg Penrith Panthers 20 June 2008, 7:45pm ANZ Stadium
16 Gold Coast Titans colours.svg Gold Coast Titans 22-26 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 28 June 2008, 5:30pm Skilled Park
17 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle Knights 16-24 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 5 July 2008, 7:30pm EnergyAustralia Stadium
18 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 12-19 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders 13 July 2008, 2:00pm WIN Stadium
19 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne Storm 26-0 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 21 July 2008, 7:00pm Olympic Park Stadium
20 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 30-0 Canterbury colours.svg Bulldogs 28 July 2008, 7:00pm ANZ Stadium
21 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla Sharks 13-12 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 2 August 2008, 5:30pm Toyota Park
22 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 10-18 Wests Tigers colours.svg Wests Tigers 8 August 2008, 7:35pm WIN Stadium
23 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 20-24 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 15 August 2008, 7:35pm Suncorp Stadium
24 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 34-6 New Zealand colours.svg New Zealand Warriors 24 August 2008, 3:00pm WIN Stadium
25 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 40-14 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels 30 September 2008, 7:30pm ANZ Stadium
26 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Roosters 10-0 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 5 September 2008, 7:35pm Sydney Football Stadium
QF Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 38-6 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 13 September 2008, 8:30pm Brookvale Oval

Ladder[edit]

Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne 24 17 0 7 2 584 282 +302 38
2 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah 24 17 0 7 2 645 355 +290 38
3 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla 24 17 0 7 2 451 384 +67 38
4 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Roosters 24 15 0 9 2 511 446 +65 34
5 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 24 14 1 9 2 560 452 +108 33
6 Canberra colours.svg Canberra 24 13 0 11 2 640 527 +113 30
7 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra 24 13 0 11 2 489 378 +111 30
8 New Zealand colours.svg New Zealand 24 13 0 11 2 502 567 -65 30
9 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle 24 12 0 12 2 516 486 +30 28
10 Wests Tigers colours.svg Wests Tigers 24 11 0 13 2 528 560 -32 26
11 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 24 11 0 13 2 501 547 -46 26
12 Panthers colours.svg Penrith 24 10 1 13 2 504 611 -107 25
13 Gold Coast Titans colours.svg Gold Coast 24 10 0 14 2 476 586 -110 24
14 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 24 8 0 16 2 453 666 -213 20
15 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland 24 5 0 19 2 474 638 -164 14
16 Canterbury colours.svg Bulldogs 24 5 0 19 2 433 782 -349 14

Gains and Losses[edit]

Gains

Player Previous Club
Kirk Reynoldson Newcastle Knights
Stuart Webb South Sydney Rabbitohs
Ben Rogers (mid-season) South Sydney Rabbitohs
Jon Green Bulldogs
Jarrod Saffy Wests Tigers
Jardine Bobongie North Sydney Bears
Joe Falemaka North Sydney Bears

Losses

Player Joined Club
Wes Naiqama Newcastle Knights
Danny Wicks Newcastle Knights
Chris Houston Newcastle Knights
Keith Lulia Newcastle Knights
Ashton Sims Brisbane Broncos
Tom Hewitt Brisbane Broncos
Corey Payne Wests Tigers
Adam Peek Cronulla Sharks
Charlie Leaeno Bulldogs

First Grade Signed Players[edit]

St George Illawarra Dragons has 31 signed players in first grade that play in the main competition.

No. Position Player
Australia LK Jardine Bobongie
Australia SR Rangi Chase
Australia CE Matt Cooper
Australia SR Ben Creagh
Australia HK Ben Ellis
Tonga PR Joe Falemaka
Australia CE Mark Gasnier (captain)
Australia PR Jon Green
Australia CE Mark Hendy
Australia HB Ben Hornby
Australia PR Dan Hunt
Australia WG Michael Lett
Australia FB Brett Morris
Australia WG Josh Morris
Australia WG Jason Nightingale
Australia PR Justin Poore
No. Position Player
Australia SR Matt Prior
Australia HK Alex Ranieri
Australia SR Kirk Reynoldson
Australia PR Jason Ryles
South Africa SR Jarrod Saffy
Lebanon CE Frank Samia
Australia WG Wendell Sailor
Australia SR Beau Scott
Australia LK Lagi Setu
Australia FE Jamie Soward
Australia CE Chase Stanley
New Zealand PR Ricky Thorby
Australia LK Stuart Webb
Australia HK Simon Woolford
Australia HK Dean Young

Team Lineup[edit]

Line up for the Qualifying Finals vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles:
Saturday, 13 September 2008 at 8:30pm AEST at Brookvale Oval, Sydney.

No. Position Player
1 New Zealand FB Jason Nightingale
2 Australia WG Wendell Sailor
3 Australia CE Mark Gasnier (captain)
4 Australia CE Matt Cooper
5 Australia WG Josh Morris
6 Australia FE Ben Rogers
7 Australia HB Ben Hornby
8 Australia PR Beau Scott
9 Australia HK Stuart Webb
10 Australia PR Jason Ryles
11 New Zealand SR Lagi Setu
12 Australia SR Ben Creagh
13 Australia LK Dean Young
No. Position Player
14 Australia PR Dan Hunt
15 Australia PR Matt Prior
16 Australia SR Kirk Reynoldson
17 Australia HK Ben Ellis
South Africa SR Jarrod Saffy
Australia FE Jamie Soward
Australia HK Simon Woolford
New Zealand LK Rangi Chase
Australia CE Michael Lett
Australia FB Brett Morris
New Zealand CE Chase Stanley (injured ankle; Semi Finals)
Australia PR Justin Poore (injured knee; Season)
Australia PR Ricky Thorby (injured ribs; Season)
  • Last 9 are currently inactive due to injury, fulfilling other commitments, being used as "spares" or playing in lower grades. e.g. NSW Cup, Queensland Cup or Toyota Cup.

National Youth Competition (Toyota Cup Under 20s)[edit]

The Dragons U20s side were strong off from the start. For the Toyota Cup inaugural season, the Dragons Under-20s Side is coached by Steven Price. Before the regular season began, the Dragons won a Toyota Cup Trial match against the Bulldogs down at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. They started the regular season disappointing with a 34-22 loss to the Wests Tigers. However, the Dragons have not lost another match after that with 1 bye in their past leaving them on top of the Toyota Cup table, on 22 competition points. Their 10-match winning streak came to an end in Round 13 at WIN Stadium when they drew 22 all with the Brisbane Broncos. While the First Grade side continued their winning streak, the Under 20s were looking to start a losing streak as they were defeated back-to-back for the first time this year by the Penrith Panthers 28-26 in Round 15 at ANZ Stadium and 32-16 by the Gold Coast Titans at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast. They returned to the winners circle in Round 17 defeating the Newcastle Knights 26-18 at EnergyAustralia Stadium. In Round 18, straight after a fresh win, they once again lost a match this time against the Canberra Raiders 38-28 at WIN Stadium. They then had back and forth wins during the regular season keeping them in the top 8, struggling to keep their spot(s).

Toyota Cup signed players[edit]

The following 34 players are signed with the St. George Illawarra Dragons for the Toyota Cup.

No. Position Player
Australia WG Chris Astill
Australia WG Jace Brown
Australia LK Rowan Brown
Australia PR Josh Cochrane
Australia PR Rhys Cochrane
Australia FE Nathan Dureau
Australia HK Daniel Fepuleai
Australia PR Thomas Hancock
Australia FE Beau Henry
Australia HB Gavin Hood
Australia SR Brad Hudson
Australia SR Ben Josephs
Australia HB John Kennedy (captain)
Australia FE Maurice Kennedy
Australia CE Cameron King
Australia CE Kane Linnett
Australia SR Jake Marketo
No. Position Player
Australia PR Trent Merrin
Australia FB Sam Morath
Australia WG Clifford Morris
Australia LK Matt Mundine
Australia LK Luke Muttdon
Australia CE Daniel Nicastri
Australia PR Rory O'Brien
Australia LK Michael Pickerd
Australia WG Henry Raiwalui
Australia PR Travis Roche
Australia SR Ben Schreiber
Australia LK Brendan Smith
Australia LK Kyle Stanley
Australia LK Wes Suckley
Australia SR Jarrod Thompson
Australia WG Joe Vickory
Australia CE Dean Whare

Toyota Cup lineup[edit]

This is the Dragons' Toyota Cup weekly lineup.
Lineup for the Preliminary Finals vs. Canberra Raiders:
Friday, 26 September 2008 at 5:30 pm AEST at the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney.

No. Position Player
1 Australia FB Henry Raiwalui
2 Australia WG Daniel Nicastri
3 Australia CE Kane Linnett
4 Australia CE Dean Whare
5 Australia WG Sam Morath
6 Australia FE Nathan Dureau
7 Australia HB John Kennedy (captain)
8 Australia PR Rory O'Brien
9 Australia HK Daniel Fepuleai
10 Australia PR Trent Merrin
11 Australia SR Jake Marketo
12 Australia SR Jarrod Thompson
13 Australia LK Clifford Morris
No. Position Player
14 Australia HK Thomas Hancock
15 Australia SR Wes Suckley
16 Australia SR Luke Muttdon
17 Australia PR Cameron King
(18) Australia HK Ben Schreiber
Australia PR Beau Henry
Australia FE Maurice Kennedy
Australia SR Brad Hudson
Australia LK Alex McKinnon
Australia LK Matt Mundine
Australia WG Travis Roche
Australia WG Jace Brown
Australia WG Joe Vickery
  • 1 Interchange player to be omitted before game.
  • Last 6 are currently inactive due to injury, fulfilling other commitments, being used as "spares" or playing in the NSW Cup or the S.G. Ball Cup.

Ladder[edit]

Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1 Canberra colours.svg Canberra 24 18 0 6 2 744 581 +163 40
2 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 24 15 1 8 2 684 476 +208 35
3 New Zealand colours.svg New Zealand 24 14 3 7 2 721 533 +188 35
4 Panthers colours.svg Penrith 24 15 1 8 2 692 583 +109 35
5 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 24 14 3 7 2 578 564 +14 35
6 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra 24 13 2 9 2 561 520 +41 32
7 Canterbury colours.svg Bulldogs 24 12 3 9 2 711 587 +124 31
8 Gold Coast Titans colours.svg Gold Coast 24 13 1 10 2 686 567 +119 31
9 Wests Tigers colours.svg Wests Tigers 24 13 0 11 2 620 623 -3 30
10 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 24 11 2 11 2 618 584 +34 28
11 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly 24 11 0 13 2 519 532 -13 26
12 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle 24 8 1 15 2 526 630 -104 21
13 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne 24 8 1 15 2 512 638 -126 21
14 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla 24 6 1 17 2 394 666 -272 17
15 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney 24 6 0 18 2 480 721 -241 16
16 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland 24 4 3 17 2 455 696 -241 15

References[edit]

  1. ^ Webster, Andrew (21 June 2008). "Ryles quits Dragons". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 21 June 2008.