2023 NRL Season Preview
NRL23 Feb 2023

2023 St. George Illawarra Dragons NRL Season Preview

There was a lot happening off the field for the Dragons last season, and this was reflected in their results on the field, where they only won 12 games and finished in 10th place. In the Dragons last five games of the 2022 season, they won three and lost two. Can consistency become key for the Dragons in 2023?

Recruitment Report

Compared to a number of other teams in the NRL, the Dragons had a relatively quiet recruitment period. There are a few ins and outs for the team, but overall, it seems as though the Dragons have lost more key players then they have gained. The Dragons have picked up both Jacob Liddle and Zane Musgrove from the Tigers. While they also have gained Ben Murdoch-Masila from the Warriors and Nick Tui-Loso from the Northern Pride.

When looking at who they’ve lost since last season, there are a few players who really stick out. Tariq Sims leaves the club to join the Storm after seven seasons with the Dragons. George Burgess and Andrew McCullough have also left the Dragons, both retiring from the NRL.

Ins: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Jacob Liddle, Zane Musgrove and Nick Tui-Loso

Outs: Tariq Sims, George Burgess, Andrew McCullough, Jackson Ford, Jack Gosiewski, Josh McGuire and Poasa Faamausili

Key Player: Ben Hunt

Ben Hunt is the obvious choice for key player at the Dragons. The halfback made the switch from the Broncos to the Dragons in 2018 and has been with the Dragons ever since. Last season the captain had 17 try assists in 23 games. He also had incredible State of Origin performances last year. The Dragons will need another stellar year from him and a few of the other important players in the team, if they want to make the Finals.

Rising Star: Haele Finau

Haele Finau is just oozing potential and he may very well get a crack in first grade this season. The hooker has signed a development contract with the Dragons and has also signed to be a part of the squad’s top 30 for 2024. He has played 25 games in the Queensland Cup and has previously come through the grades with the Storm.

5 Key Matches To Watch

Match 1: Round 4, vs Sharks, at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium (Sun, Mar 26, 6:15pm)

Match 2: Round 8, vs Roosters, at Allianz Stadium (Tue, Apr 25, 4pm)

Match 3: Round 9, vs Bulldogs, at WIN Stadium (Sun, Apr 30, 4:05pm)

Match 4: Round 15, vs Rabbitohs, at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium (Sat, Jun 10, 3pm)

Match 5: Round 23, vs Eels, at CommBank Stadium (Sun, Aug 6, 2pm)

2023 NRL Season Expectations

It’s looking like another tough season for the Dragons in 2023, and there is shaping up to be just as many off-field distractions as ever. But when you look at their squad, they do have some quality players, that can help lift the Dragons from the bottom four on the ladder. But the question remains if they can climb any higher.