February 3, 2023

Dragons NRL team could drop St George and Illawarra from their name – while asking their fans if they should be called the ‘Southern Dragons’ in a move that would erase footy history

  • Stunning change ahead for the NRL’s first joint venture club
  • Poll asks fans if they want to stick with current name or switch
  • Illawarra Steelers is a junior partner in a joint venture founded in 1998

NRL team St George Illawarra could simply be known as the Southern Dragons as the club asks their fans if they should make a stunning change that will see them turn their backs on 102 years of history.

Club members have received a survey asking, ‘What naming convention should the St George Illawarra Dragons use as their formal identity?’

They were given the options: St George Illawarra Dragons, Southern Dragons, Greater Sydney Dragons, The Dragons or others.

The poll also asked fans if they agreed that ‘the era of the St George and Illawarra Steelers is over and we must now look to the future as one,’ according to the Daily Telegraph.

Trent Barrett was an Illawarra great (pictured) before becoming one of the Dragons' best when the joint venture was formed in 1998.  Now the Steelers half of the club could disappear from its name if the squad makes a huge change on the map

Trent Barrett was an Illawarra great (pictured) before becoming one of the Dragons’ best when the joint venture was formed in 1998. Now the Steelers half of the club could disappear from its name if the squad makes a huge change on the map

Calling the party the

Calling the party the “Greater Sydney Dragons” is one of the options given to members in a survey sent out by the club (St George star Ben Hunt, pictured)

Supporters also had the opportunity to express their views on whether the St George and Illawarra fanbases have much in common, whether the clubs’ combined history guides and inspires the current team, and whether the side should unite under a ‘ single identity’. to ensure success.

Founded in 1920, St George merged with the Illawarra Steelers to form the NRL’s first joint venture club in 1998, as the Super League war drew to a close.

The Steelers were always the junior partner and that was reflected on the uniform, which used the St George Dragons logo and the famous Dragons Red V design on the jersey. Illawarra was represented by a slight change to the red used on the strip.

The club’s Illawarra side, based in Wollongong on the NSW south coast, just south of Sydney, lacks the financial clout of the St George side, which is based in Kogarah in Sydney’s southern suburbs.

News of the possible name change divided opinion among Dragons fans.

Some fans are outraged by the possibility of 'Illawarra' being dropped from the team's name (Steeler's great Rod Wishart is pictured running the ball against Manly)

Some fans are outraged by the possibility of ‘Illawarra’ being dropped from the team’s name (Steeler’s great Rod Wishart is pictured running the ball against Manly)

Other Dragons diehards are eager to return to the days when St. George was the only name associated with the Red V (Dragons players pictured celebrating a try in Round 25 last season)

Other Dragons diehards are eager to return to the days when St. George was the only name associated with the Red V (Dragons players pictured celebrating a try in Round 25 last season)

‘St. George Illawarra Dragons is the absolutely perfect name. Anything other than that is ridiculously disrespectful to at least one side of the merger,” Jack Martin tweeted.

‘Wow!!!! Please be true. Let’s go back to the mighty “St George Dragons”!!!! I used to wish this with my father,” wrote journalist Taylor Auerbach.

‘St George Dragons are destroying the legacy of Illawarra. Southern Dragons doesn’t work because it’s not the exclusive team… The Dragons; not a fan of losing geographic links,” another fan tweeted.

β€œSt George Dragons is one of the strongest brands in the sport. We should have gotten rid of it in the first place,” wrote a Red V diehard.

‘St George Illawarra Dragons includes what the club was built on (merged). Don’t break with history,” said another footy fan.

Even if the club drops Illawarra from its name, it will still maintain a strong connection to the area thanks to its plans to build a multi-million dollar community and High Performance Center at the University of Wollongong.

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