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NSW Cup 2022 Season Review | St George Illawarra Dragons

Considering St George Illawarra Dragons’ strong showings throughout NSWRL competitions in recent seasons, their team from The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup will be looking for more improvement after just missing out on the finals in 2022.

Coach Russ Aitken’s line-up saw regular turnover of players between NRL and NSW Cup at different stages of the year, As a result they struggled to maintain consistency, but when performing at their best the Red V had plenty of points in them on several occasions.

The season also featured a pair of memorable first grade debuts, with front-rower Michael Molo scoring a try off the bench in a Round 11 win, followed by outside back Jonathon Reuben, who became the oldest NRL debutant at 29 years and 92 days in his hometown of Townsville in Round 14.

Season highlight

Going into Round Five without a victory to their name, the Dragons came up against the sixth-placed Rabbitohs at Accor Stadium.

A win against the old rival was desperately needed for the Red V and they flew out of the blocks early, with back-rower Jack Gosiewski crossing for a double. Reuben scored another try with 14 minutes to go before the break, while halfback Kamren Cryer nailed all three conversions for an 18-0 halftime lead.

St George Illawarra staved off South Sydney’s second-half fightback after the home team scored five tries, with Dragons prop Daniel Alvaro and winger Alexander Lobb scoring tries to help secure victory.

The result began a four-match winning streak to breathe life into the Dragons’ 2022 campaign.

Simply the best

Gosiewski was the sole Dragon to be named in The Knock-On Effect Team of the Year for 2022, after the second-rower was heavily involved in their best performances for the year.

The former Sea Eagle played 16 NSW Cup matches for the Dragons and finished the season alongside Mounties’ Dane Aukafolau with nine tries, the most by any back-rower. Eight of those tries came in Dragons victories, with the Red V managing nine wins in total.

Gosiewski also produced two try assists, six line-breaks, 40 tackle busts, 18 offloads, and averaged 104 run metres and 20.7 tackles (90.7 percent efficiency) per game.

By the numbers

While the Dragons had mixed results throughout the season, they will need to better their home record to be in contention for a return to finals next year. The Dragons sat 11th in the competition with two wins at home and seven defeats.

However, the Dragons can take plenty of confidence in their ability to score enough points to compete with the top attacking teams. St George Illawarra scored 30 points or more in nine games this year and lost only two of those games.

On the other hand, the Dragons were fourth for points conceded in 2022, which should be their main area of improvement.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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