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20 stars for 2022 | Junior Amone

Junior Amone was a shining light for the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2021 alongside a handful of up-and-coming stars, who have recently introduced themselves to the NRL.

Amone, Tyrell Sloan, Jayden Sullivan, and Max and Mathew Feagai, were all members of the Illawarra side that won the SG Ball Cup in 2019. Still eligible for the competition in 2021, Amone steered his side to another Grand Final before earning the Player of the Series award.

With this group of talent remaining in the Red V for at least the next two seasons, the combinations we’ve already seen at stages in 2021 could be the Dragons’ attacking blueprint in the years to come.

One example of the brilliance these youngsters can produce came in Round 25 against North Queensland. About 30 metres out in the Cowboys half, Amone chipped over the top from left of the ruck towards the right post as Sloan raced onto the ball to score. 

A five-eighth by trade, Amone has officially been elevated from development player to NRL top-30 for the upcoming season as he looks to add to his 11 first grade appearances (six via the interchange) in 2021.

His NRL debut in Round 9 was particularly memorable despite playing just 16 minutes off the bench – the 19-year-old scoring a try with 10 minutes left as St George Illawarra ran away a 32-12 win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. That ended a five-match losing streak.

Now that 2021 is in the rear view mirror, Amone is firming for the starting 17 in 2022 and is in a pre-season duel with Sullivan for the No.6 jersey made vacant by the departures of Corey Norman and Adam Clune.

“He (Sullivan) and I play well together and we work off the back of each other, but we've just got to wait and see (who gets the opportunity),” Amone told

“Even if we’re fighting it out for that No.6, I'll just be happy to find my name on the team sheet – I just want to be working forward to playing as many games as I can next year.”