|NRL||05/29 04:00||12||Canterbury Bulldogs vs St George/Illawarra Dragons||-||View|
|NRL||06/10 09:55||14||North Queensland Cowboys vs St George/Illawarra Dragons||-||View|
|NRL||06/16 09:50||15||St George/Illawarra Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs||-||View|
|NRL||07/03 06:05||16||St George/Illawarra Dragons vs Canberra Raiders||-||View|
|NRL||07/10 06:05||17||Brisbane Broncos vs St George/Illawarra Dragons||-||View|
|NRL||07/16 05:00||18||Sydney Roosters vs St George/Illawarra Dragons||-||View|
|NRL||05/21 05:00||11||St George/Illawarra Dragons v New Zealand Warriors||W||24-18|
|NRL||05/14 07:30||10||Gold Coast Titans v St George/Illawarra Dragons||L||20-16|
|NRL||05/08 04:00||9||Melbourne Storm v St George/Illawarra Dragons||L||42-6|
|NRL||05/01 06:05||8||St George/Illawarra Dragons v Wests Tigers||W||12-6|
|NRL||04/25 06:00||7||St George/Illawarra Dragons v Sydney Roosters||W||14-12|
|NRL||04/17 06:05||6||St George/Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights||W||21-16|
|NRL||04/09 07:30||5||South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George/Illawarra Dragons||L||24-12|
|NRL||04/03 08:15||4||Parramatta Eels v St George/Illawarra Dragons||L||48-14|
|NRL||03/24 09:05||3||St George/Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks||L||12-36|
|NRL||03/18 07:00||2||St George/Illawarra Dragons v Penrith Panthers||L||16-20|
|NRL||03/12 06:30||1||New Zealand Warriors v St George/Illawarra Dragons||W||16-28|
|NRL Charity Shield||02/26 08:00||-||South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George/Illawarra Dragons||W||10-16|
The St. George Illawarra Dragons is an Australian professional rugby league football club, representing both the Illawarra and St George regions of New South Wales. The club has competed in the National Rugby League since 1999 after a joint-venture was formed between the St. George Dragons (est. 1921) and the Illawarra Steelers (est. 1982). They officially formed as the game's first joint-venture club on 23 September 1998 and it remains the only inter-city team in the NRL. The team has its headquarters and leagues clubs in both Wollongong and the Sydney suburb of Kogarah, and trains and plays games regularly at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, as well as at Jubilee Oval in Kogarah. From 2006 to 2018 the club was jointly owned by the St. George Dragons 50% and Illawarra Steelers 50%. In August 2018 WIN Corporation purchased the Illawarra Steelers' 50% stake.
The Dragons reached the grand final in their first season in 1999, losing to the Melbourne Storm. St. George Illawarra is one of only two clubs (the other being the Sydney Roosters in 1908) to finish runner-up in its inaugural season. St. George Illawarra also fields teams in local competitions within the St. George and Illawarra regions. In 2010, the Dragons won their second successive minor premiership and became the first team to be awarded the J. J. Giltinan Shield in consecutive years since the National Rugby League was formed in 1998.
The Dragons won the 2010 NRL Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters 32–8 at ANZ Stadium, Sydney. They then won the 2011 World Club Challenge, defeating the Wigan Warriors 21–15 at DW Stadium in the UK. With its World Club Challenge victory, the club became the first Australian team since the Brisbane Broncos in 1992-3 to win the minor premiership, premiership and World Club Challenge simultaneously.
In the wake of the Super League war of the mid-1990s, and the resulting split competition of 1997, the Illawarra Steelers found themselves struggling financially and seemed unlikely to survive past 1999. The St. George Dragons largely financed a proposal for a joint venture which would see the St George Illawarra Dragons playing in both Kogarah and Wollongong. Essentially, St George would provide the money while Illawarra would provide a broader junior and fan base. With the NRL's intention to rationalise the competition from 20 teams down to 14 teams and with a $4M incentive and a relaxing of salary cap requirements for a joint venture, the Dragons and the Steelers ensured their survival by forming the League's first joint venture on 23 September 1998.
A joint venture entity being a new concept in Australian rugby league, the public watched closely in anticipation of success or failure. No-one was certain how the top players sourced from the two clubs would perform when they ran out onto the field. They were unsuccessful in their first outing, losing to the Parramatta Eels 20–10, but by the 4th round they had started to form some cohesion and would go on to achieve a top eight position on the competition ladder by the end of the regular season. In the semi-finals the Dragons won against the Melbourne Storm at Olympic Park, before returning to Sydney to dispose of the Sydney Roosters and the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks to reach the Grand Final.
In the 1999 Grand Final, the club were leading by 14–0 at the break in front of a world record crowd of 107,999. A fairytale of a title in their first year as a joint venture seemed destined to come true; something of an advertisement to any other clubs considering the option of a joint venture, but Melbourne recovered from their poor start and went into the final minutes of the game with St. George Illawarra leading by 18–12. The Dragons were forced to perform a drop kick from their own goal line, and on the fifth tackle Brett Kimmorley kicked high towards St. George Illawarra's corner of the field. As Melbourne's winger Craig Smith caught the ball over the goal-line he was knocked unconscious in a tackle by Jamie Ainscough and lost the ball. Referee Bill Harrigan deferred to the video referee who ruled a penalty try on the grounds that contact had been made with the head, giving Melbourne a 20–18 lead and the premiership title.
In the 2000 NRL season though they had a rough start, and in Round 5, St. George Illawarra recorded their worst defeat for the club, losing 70–10 against the Melbourne Storm. This was the first game these two teams played against each other since the 1999 grand final, and was played at the MCG. On 3 May to the surprise and shock of fans and club officials, Anthony Mundine announced his retirement from the club and rugby league in general with immediate effect to pursue a career in boxing. The Dragons were not going well in the first half of the 2000 season, and the main coach David Waite was replaced with assistant coach, Andrew Farrar. Soon after the replacement of coaches, St. George Illawarra recorded their best ever win. They defeated the New Zealand Warriors 54–0 in round 14 at WIN Stadium, with debutant Amos Roberts scoring a record 22 points (one try and nine goals) for any first grade player on debut. St. George Illawarra, however, missed out of the finals series, and came 9th. Despite their poor season, Trent Barrett was awarded with the Dally M Medal.
In 2003, Nathan Brown, the joint venture's first number 9 achieved the position of coach, becoming the youngest non-playing coach in premiership history at the age of 29. St. George Illawarra finished the season 10th. Nathan Brown was also involved in a sideline incident when he had slapped Trent Barrett in Wollongong during a game against Manly, and was issued a $5000 fine.
2004 saw the final season of the try scoring talent Nathan Blacklock. An extraordinary scoreline was seen in the round 25 clash with Manly. Trailing 34–10 after 53 minutes the club came back to win the match 36–34. This was the second biggest comeback in Australian Rugby League history. Finishing 5th, the club were eliminated in the first round of the finals after losing in a thrilling game 30–31 to 4th placed Penrith.
In 2005, after their worst start to a season yet (losing 5 of their first 6 games), the St. George Illawarra side finished second in a close season on the ladder at completion of the 2005 NRL season, just behind minor premiers the Parramatta Eels on points difference. After progressing to the finals they defeated local rivals the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 28–22 in the quarter final of the finals series though the Dragons eventually fell 12–20 to eventual champions the Wests Tigers in the Preliminary Final. The club broke the ground record at WIN Stadium twice in the 2005 season. First against rivals the Sydney Roosters and then at their home quarter final game against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
In early 2006, WIN Television Network bought a 25% stake in the Illawarra Steelers Club for $6.5 million, erasing most of the debt Illawarra had to St. George. This formalised the strong support the network has shown for the Steelers in years gone by and ensured that Wollongong continued to host world class rugby league matches.
After a bad start to the 2006 NRL season, the club put on a midseason seven/game winning streak. This was followed by a form slump, with a record five consecutive losses, only to return to form with a victory over the Wests Tigers, and continue this positive form leading into the finals. The club ended the regular season in sixth position.
In the finals campaign, St George Illawarra faced the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium in the first round, St. George Illawarra won the game 20–4. In the second round, they met the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at the Sydney Football Stadium winning 28–0. In the grand final qualifier, they played the Melbourne Storm, where the club went down 24–10 bowing out of season 2006.
St. George Illawarra could take solace from the fact that they did defeat the eventual premiers, Brisbane, three times during the 2006 season – 26–12 at Wollongong in Round 4, 18–16 at Suncorp Stadium in Round 15 and the aforementioned qualifying final match.
Season 2007 saw an early injury to Mark Gasnier in the Charity Shield match against South Sydney Rabbitohs creating another poor start for the Dragons. Combined with the loss of key players such as Luke Bailey, Trent Barrett and Shaun Timmins in the off-season, the Dragons faced NRL newcomers, the Gold Coast Titans, in Round 1. The joint-venture club won the historic match 20–18, however lost 6 more matches after that leaving the Saints sitting in 15th place on the NRL Ladder. This was a very inexperienced Dragons team that seemed destined for a poor injury plagued season. However, in Round 17 (vs Canberra Raiders at WIN Stadium), the Saints scored four times more points than their previous game average, winning the match 58–16, equalling their highest ever score and their largest victory in three years. The club's season ended with a 28–24 loss to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval, finishing in 13th place, their lowest finish to date.
2008 saw the end of an era, with coach Nathan Brown's contract not renewed after yet another poor start to the season, winning one of their first six matches. The club received a boost in May when former dual-code international player Wendell Sailor joined the team. Several notable players departed at the end of the year including Jason Ryles and captain Mark Gasnier. The club finished the season in 7th place, however they lost in the first round of the finals to eventual premiers Manly (whom they defeated 20–18 in round 11) 34–6 at Brookvale Oval ending yet another disappointing season. The era under Brown was one of frustration for Dragons fans, as there were high expectations for the strong side, but ultimately no premierships.
2009, a new season a new coach and ground sponsor WIN at Jubilee Oval. Several new faces joined the club, including Jeremy Smith, Darius Boyd, Neville Costigan, Michael Weyman and Luke Priddis. The season opener against the Storm ended in a thrilling golden point extra time loss (17–16). Round 3 set a new crowd record with the victorious return to WIN Jubilee against Cronulla.
They were consistently placed first on the competition ladder in 2009, contributed by a continuous winning streak of seven games since their win against the North Queensland Cowboys on 14 June. They lost first position after a three-game losing streak while the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs won all games in that period, but remain in the top three. However, in the final round of the 2009 regular season, St. George Illawarra defeated in-form Parramatta Eels 37–0, a game in which winger Brett Morris obtained a hat-trick and man of the match honours, while Canterbury lost 34–12 to the Wests Tigers. In the same game, St. George Illawarra five-eighth Jamie Soward surpassed Harry Bath's record for most points in a season by a St. George player. As a result, St. George Illawarra won the minor premiership for the 2009 and Wayne Bennett's first season at the club, but the team was eliminated from the finals after losing both their finals matches, therefore becoming the first minor premiers since 1993. In the first match they were humbled in front of a packed Jubilee Stadium, before travelling to face Bennett's former team. Brisbane defeated the Saints.
Season 2010 saw the club lose seven matches – the same tally as in the 2009 home-and-away season, against eventual wooden spooners the Melbourne Storm, 2008 premiers the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, their perennial bogey team the Canberra Raiders, 2003 premiers the Penrith Panthers in round 17, the Gold Coast Titans in extra time in round 20, Bennett's old team the Brisbane Broncos in round 21 and a second time to the Canberra Raiders in round 24. The team has been placed first since round five.
The team won its second minor premiership in succession (the first NRL team to do so since the inception of the NRL in 1998) with victory against the Newcastle Knights in the penultimate round of the 2010 NRL season. The joint-venture club had led the competition from round five right through to the final round, spending 21 consecutive weeks on top of the ladder and therefore spending the longest period of time on top of the ladder in NRL history (not including the Melbourne Storm).
St George Illawarra met Manly in the first week of the 2010 finals and produced a 28–0 victory. St. George Illawarra then defeated Wests Tigers 13–12 with Jamie Soward kicking the winning field goal for a place in the 2010 NRL Grand Final.
In the 2010 NRL Grand Final, St. George Illawarra defeated the Sydney Roosters 32–8, to secure the club's first grand final victory. The club overcame a poor first half performance to pull a thrilling victory out of the hat. This victory made Wayne Bennett's grand final record at 7 wins from 8 and thus continuing Brian Smith's poor grand final record of 4 losses from 4. Darius Boyd won a premiership with Bennett and the Brisbane Broncos in 2006, won the Clive Churchill Medal for best on ground in the match. The Grand Final victory also ended 31 years of hurt for St. George fans as the club had lost previous finals in 1985, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1999.
St George Illawarra began their 2011 Season with pre-season wins in trials over Canterbury and South Sydney in the Charity Shield. The club also claimed its first World Club Challenge Championship, defeating Wigan Warriors 21–15 at DW Stadium. As of Round 14 2011, the Dragons have won 10 straight (excluding a 14–14 draw against Parramatta in Round 13).
It was announced in March 2011 that Bennett would leave St. George Illawarra after the 2011 NRL season, signing a four-year deal with the Newcastle Knights from the 2012 season onwards. Steve Price was named as his successor.
2012 saw the club with a new coach. St. George Illawarra narrowly missed out on a Finals spot, finishing up in 9th position. Several notable players departed from the club at the end of the season, including Ben Hornby and Dean Young, who both retired from the sport. The start of the 2013 NRL season saw the arrival of few key acquisitions, namely Gerard Beale from the Broncos and Tyson Frizell from the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
The season was plagued by inconsistent form, alongside injuries and speculation regarding Price's future at the club. After winning three straight matches on the lead up to the annual Anzac Day clash with the Sydney Roosters, it was announced that Price would be signed for another year with an option for a second at the clubs disposal. Despite the clubs faith in Price as well as the arrival of star fullback Josh Dugan from Canberra – in a mid-season transfer, the club was unable to string together consistent performances and finished the year at 14th position.
Star five-eighth Gareth Widdop joined the club for 2014, but by late May 2014, just after the star signing of Benji Marshall, the board sacked Price as coach due to some embarrassing defeats to start the season. Assistant coach Paul McGregor was named as his replacement until the end of the season, and was eventually employed full-time following improved results. This culminated in the club returning to the finals in 2015 and enjoying a successful year.
In the 2017 NRL season, St George Illawarra lead the competition after the first eight rounds before a dramatic slide which saw the club record only six wins for the rest of the season. In the final match of the regular season, St George Illawarra played against Canterbury with a win guaranteeing them a finals spot and jumping ahead of North Queensland. With under ten minutes to play, St George Illawarra were ahead on the scoreboard before two quick tries gave Canterbury a 26–20 victory.
The 2018 NRL season saw the arrival of two star signings, English international James Graham and the Australian and Queensland halfback Ben Hunt. These signings and a successful season culminated in the club returning to the finals in 2018 and enjoyed a successful year. On 9 September 2018, St. George Illawarra Dragons won their first qualifying final in 8 years, defeating the Brisbane Broncos 48–18 at Suncorp Stadium. The following week, St George Illawarra played against South Sydney in week 2 of the finals series and were defeated 13–12 in a tight game. The match was also the first time since 1984 that the two clubs had played each other in the finals.
The Intrust Super Premiership NSW St. George Illawarra also had a strong year finishing second at the end of the regular season were they made the preliminary final but were defeated 28–26 by Canterbury.
In August 2018 WIN Corporation purchased the Illawarra Steelers remaining 25% stake in the club for a "commercially in confidence" sum. The St George Dragons and WIN Corporation now have a 50% stake each. WIN Corporation has paid off the $6 million debt the St. George Illawarra Dragons owed the NRL. The club's home venues will continue to be WIN Stadium and Jubilee Stadium.
Before the start of the 2019 NRL season, St. George Illawarra were expected by many to reach the finals and continue their good form from the previous year. A few weeks out from the club's first match, Jack de Belin was stood down indefinitely by the NRL in relation to an incident which happened in December 2018. On 18 April 2019, McGregor was granted a two-year contract extension by St. George Illawarra, keeping him at the club as the head coach until the end of the 2021 NRL season after the side had won four of their first six games.
St. George Illawarra would then go to only win three of their next 17 matches which left them second last on the table above the last placed Gold Coast. On 2 September 2019, it was revealed that McGregor's position at head coach would be coming under review following the conclusion of the season. St. George Illawarra finished 15th on the ladder and did not qualify for the finals after having a horror season.
On 13 August 2020, McGregor was terminated as head coach of St. George Illawarra after a poor start to the season left the club with four wins in thirteen games, he was subsequently replaced by Dean Young. At the end of the 2020 NRL season, the club finished a disappointing 12th on the table and missed out on the finals.
On 7 September 2020, Anthony Griffin was appointed the coach for 2021 NRL season on a two-year deal.
On 1 June 2021, it was announced that Jack de Belin would return from his 987-day hiatus after charges against him were dropped.
On 5 July 2021, the NRL handed out a total of $305,000 in fines to 13 players of the club after they attended Paul Vaughan's property for a party in the midst of Covid-19 restrictions which were in breach of the code's bio security protocols.
The season finished with the club finishing in 11th place, missing out on finals for the third consecutive year. The season started with four wins from the first five games, however over the next 19 games, the club only obtained another four victories, with the club losing eight matches in a row to close out the season after the infamous barbeque. It capped off a mediocre first year under Griffin's reign.