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Soward confirmed as Dragons NRLW coach

True Blue Jamie Soward has been confirmed as the new St George Illawarra Dragons NRLW coach for 2022.

The 2010 premiership winner will replace Mat Head, who has moved into an assistant coach role with Anthony Griffin and the NRL squad.

Soward demonstrated an astute knowledge of the game throughout his NRL career spanning 215 games. As a result, he was brought on as a specialist coach for the Dragons in 2021 to assist with game management and kicking.

“I probably didn’t envision myself being a coach until I was a lot older, but the opportunity came up last year to work with the Dragons on a specialist basis and that intrigued me a lot more about what I can do full time,” Soward told nswrl.com.au.

“The NRLW was something I’ve been interested in but with ‘Heady’ (Mat Head) going up as lead assistant to work with ‘Hook’ (Anthony Griffin) it became the perfect storm for me.”

With experience under premiership-winning coaches including Wayne Bennett, Ricky Stuart and Ivan Cleary, Soward has experienced many different styles. While learning from the NRL’s best has been a great apprenticeship, he’s out to implement his own style.

“I’ve been coached by a lot of premiership winners, and I’ve also not fired personally under a couple of coaches, so I’ll look at my own experiences and take what I liked and didn’t like about myself and the coaching at the time and form it around that,” Soward said.

“I’m an emotional guy. So on the scale of Wayne Bennett to Craig Bellamy I’m probably closer to the Bellamy side of things.

“Obviously being around the NRL squad in that specialist side of things will help form my own identity without trying to copy anyone.

“I know footy back to front but the coaching side of things I’m going to have to listen and learn a lot and turn it into some wins.”

Soward will inherit a squad stacked with State of Origin and International talent. Leading the side will be Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues Captain Kezie Apps and she will be joined by Keeley Davis, Holli Wheeler, Quincy Dodd and Rachael Pearson in the leadership group.

Rounding out the Dragons NRLW coaching staff will be assistant coach Alicia Kate-Hawke and strength and conditioning coach Ryan Bailey.