At first glance, seventh place and a 15-9 record looks like a job pretty well done for the St George Illawarra Dragons.
But the 2018 NRL season could have been so much better for Paul McGregor’s men, who led the comp before falling away sharply at the back end of the year.
Big-money recruit Ben Hunt came in for plenty of criticism when things went south, so the spotlight will be on him when the Dragons suit up for 2019.
Can the Red V put together a complete campaign this time around? Let’s see where they stand in the latest NRL betting markets.
About the St George Illawarra Dragons
|Home grounds:||Jubilee Oval and WIN Stadium|
|Premierships:||One – 2010|
|2018 ladder finish:||Seventh (15-9)|
Best bookies for St George Illawarra betting
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Updated Dragons futures odds
Top NRL odds for St George Illawarra come courtesy of Sportsbet, where new punters can score up to $501 in bonus bets upon joining. Sign up now for free.
|2019 Premiership||Make Finals||Make Top 4||Dally M Odds|
|Feb||$13||$1.40||$3.75||G Widdop $17|
|Mar||$15||$1.70||$3||G Widdop $23|
|Apr||$15||$1.58||$2.75||B Hunt $27|
|May||$15||$1.50||$4||P Vaughan $26|
|Jun||$51||$2.90||$34||P Vaughan $67|
Best St George Illawarra bets for NRL 2019
There are dozens of NRL futures markets for the Dragons, but where are they likely to return some real value?
Click on the tabs below to get more analysis on these markets:
- St George Illawarra have bolted out of the gates two years in a row, only to finish middle of the pack on both occasions. They looked like flag contenders for much of last season, however, and missed the top four by only a game and percentage. There are better options out there, to be sure, but the Dragons might be the best bet among the fringe chances.
- The Dragons slid to seventh last year, but they were never in any real danger of missing the finals. Like Brisbane, Cronulla and Penrith, the Red V have their sights on a spot in the top four in 2019. That market is littered with uncertainty, so keep it simple and back St George for a place in the eight.
- Where would this team be without Gareth Widdop? The Englishman was named at five-eighth in the 2017 Dally M Team of the Year and was influential again in 2018, despite some injury problems late in the season. If his shoulder holds up and the Dragons fly high, Widdop should feature prominently in the voting.
2019 St George Illawarra draw
|1||North Queensland Cowboys||1300SMILES Stadium||Saturday, March 16||7:35pm|
|2||South Sydney Rabbitohs||Jubilee Oval||Thursday, March 21||7:50pm|
|3||Brisbane Broncos||Suncorp Stadium||Thursday, March 28||7:50pmpm|
|4||Newcastle Knights||McDonald Jones Stadium||Sunday, April 7||6:10pm|
|5||Canterbury Bulldogs||Jubilee Oval||Sunday, April 14||4:05pm|
|6||Manly Sea Eagles||WIN Stadium||Saturday, April 20||7:35pm|
|7||Sydney Roosters||Sydney Cricket Ground||Thursday, April 25||4:05pm|
|8||Parramatta Eels||Bankwest Stadium||Sunday, May 5||4:05pm|
|9||New Zealand Warriors||Suncorp Stadium||Saturday, May 11||5:30pm|
|10||Newcastle Knights||Glen Willow Oval||Sunday, May 19||2pm|
|11||Cronulla Sharks||WIN Stadium||Sunday, May 26||4:05pm|
|13||Canterbury Bulldogs||ANZ Stadium||Monday, June 10||4pm|
|14||Manly Sea Eagles||Lottoland||Sunday, June 16||2pm|
|15||North Queensland Cowboys||WIN Stadium||Friday, June 28||6pm|
|16||Melbourne Storm||WIN Stadium||Thursday, July 4||7:50pm|
|17||Canberra Raiders||WIN Stadium||Sunday, July 14||6:10pm|
|18||Penrith Panthers||Panthers Stadium||Friday, July 19||7:55pm|
|19||South Sydney Rabbitohs||ANZ Stadium||Friday, July 26||7:55pm|
|20||Parramatta Eels||Jubilee Oval||Sunday, August 4||4:05pm|
|21||Gold Coast Titans||Jubilee Oval||Saturday, August 10||3pm|
|22||Cronulla Sharks||Shark Park||Sunday, August 18||4:05pm|
|23||Sydney Roosters||Jubilee Oval||Saturday, August 24||7:35pm|
|24||Wests Tigers||Sydney Cricket Ground||Sunday, September 1||4:05pm|
|25||Gold Coast Titans||Cbus Super Stadium||Saturday, September 7||7:35pm|
Dragons players to watch in 2019
This section is usually reserved for up-and-coming youngsters and high-profile signings, but Gareth Widdop’s importance to the St George Illawarra Dragons cannot be overstated. The Englishman is slated to play fullback this year and there is a good chance the Red V will go alright if he flourishes in the no.1 jersey.
St George Illawarra’s big-money recruit is under the gun after some lukewarm efforts in the back half of his maiden season at the club. The Dragons have plenty of options in the halves this year, so Hunt will need to work a lot harder if he hopes to retain his place in Queensland’s State of Origin team.
A talented trouble-magnet, Corey Norman is looking for a fresh start after a forgettable final season at Parramatta. His quality is beyond doubt, but the question is whether he can stay out of trouble and mesh with Hunt et al the way he failed to with Mitchell Moses at the Eels.
St George Illawarra records and stats
- Most games: 273 – Ben Hornby and Ben Creagh
Most career points: 977 – Jamie Soward
Most points in a season: 234 – Jamie Soward (2009)
Most career tries: 124 – Matt Cooper
Most tries in a season: 27 – Nathan Blacklock (2001)
Most points in a match: 22 – Gareth Widdop, Jamie Soward, Amos Roberts
- Most consecutive wins: Nine (2011)
Most consecutive losses: Six (2013)
Biggest winning margin: 54-0 (vs. Warriors, 2000)
Biggest losing margin: 10-70 (vs. Storm, 2000)
- Founded in 1998 and playing their first season the following year, the St George Illawarra Dragons are a joint venture between two clubs with very different legacies.
St George were a powerhouse of the NSWRL. They won 15 premierships between 1924 and 1998, including a record 11 in a row during the ’50s and ’60s. By the time the National Rugby League was formed, only South Sydney had won more first-grade flags than the Dragons.
The Illawarra Steelers were rugby league’s whipping boys. They won the wooden spoon three times in 17 years of top-flight footy and reached the playoffs only twice, never once playing in a grand final or winning a premiership.
As the ’90s wore on and the NRL sprang into the existence, it became apparent the Steelers could not survive on their own. Seeing an opportunity to expand both their fanbase and their junior ranks, the Dragons stumped up the bulk of the cash for a new team that encompassed both the swish Sydney suburbs of St George and the working-class coastal region of Illawarra.
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