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Greats, mates and teammates pay tribute to retiring Merrin

Hear from a range of past and present players and coaches as well as some special family members as they send a parting message to the retired Trent Merrin.

NRL 2021: Round 7 Late Mail, team news, injury updates

Dylan Edwards (hand) and
Api Koroisau (wrist) will return against the Knights but the pair won't be risked if they aren't ready.
Edwards slotting in at fullback would solve a headache for Cleary, who could then move
Stephen Crichton back to the centres to replace
Paul Momirovski after he was suspended by the judiciary on Tuesday night.
Titans winger
Phil Sami (concussion) has been named on an extended bench to face the Rabbitohs and is a chance of playing.
Former Storm star
Will Chambers has been brought straight onto Cronulla's extended bench for the clash with the Bulldogs but the veteran outside back could have a run for feeder team Newtown to improve his match fitness.

Origin, Kangaroos star quits immediately

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Trent Merrin is saying goodbye.
Rugby League
by James Matthey
21st Apr 2021 1:21 PM
St George star Trent Merrin has shocked footy fans by announcing his retirement from the NRL, effective immediately.
The former NSW Origin and Kangaroos prop won't finish the season with the Dragons, calling it quits after 250 first grade appearances having "outgrown the game".
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"I'm very happy to be able to finish my career on my own terms. This was a decision where I had to be true to myself," Merrin said. "I have outgrown the game and the game has outgrown me, although my appreciation for rugby league will never die.

NRL St George Illawarra Dragons lock Trent Merrin walks away from NRL

Trent Merrin on the charge. 
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
He also played seven Tests for Australia to go with his 223 NRL games, before making the surprise decision to walk away.
"I'm very happy to be able to finish my career on my own terms," Merrin said.
"This was a decision where I had to be true to myself. I have outgrown the game and the game has outgrown me. "My appreciation for rugby league will never die."
After debuting as a local junior at the Dragons in 2009, he was part of their premiership-winning side the following year.
The lock then left for Penrith at the end of 2015, before spending a year in the Super League with Leeds and returning to the Dragons last year.

Dragons lock Merrin walks away from NRL

Selfless Merrin makes NRL retirement call
34 mins ago
Scott Bailey
© Craig Golding/AAP PHOTOS
Trent Merrin has called an end to his distinguished rugby league career.
Trent Merrin conceded that rugby league had become too quick - so he decided to walk instead. 
After pondering retirement for more than a year, Merrin told St George Illawarra teammates at training on Wednesday that he'd played his last rugby league match.
It ends a 223-game NRL career that included the 2010 premiership.
The call came as a shock to many, but the 31-year-old had long- promised himself he'd only play on while he felt he was good enough after returning home from England early last year.

Selfless Merrin makes NRL retirement call

Selfless Merrin makes NRL retirement call
2 hrs ago
Scott Bailey
© Craig Golding/AAP PHOTOS
Trent Merrin has called an end to his distinguished rugby league career.
Trent Merrin conceded that rugby league had become too quick - so he decided to walk instead. 
After pondering retirement for more than a year, Merrin told St George Illawarra teammates at training on Wednesday that he'd played his last rugby league match.
It ends a 223-game NRL career that included the 2010 premiership.
The call came as a shock to many, but the 31-year-old had long- promised himself he'd only play on while he felt he was good enough after returning home from England early last year.

NRL 2021: Trent Merrin retires, St George Illawarra Dragons forward announces retirement

After playing his 250th top-grade match against the Warriors last Sunday, Trent Merrin approached St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin and told him to give his pay and position to a younger player because he could no longer keep up with the speed of the game.
It was a selfless act by a player whose career highlight remains making his NRL debut for the Dragons in 2009 before going on to win a premiership with the club the following season and representing NSW in 13 Origins and Australia in seven Tests.
Describing himself as a “chubby kid from St Peters”, Merrin was once touted as a NSW captain but he said the enthusiasm and ambition that helped him achieve everything in the game was slipping away as he struggled to keep pace under the new NRL rules introduced this season.

Retired league great Paul Gallen knocks out former world champion Lucas Browne in first round

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Paul Gallen knocked out Lucas Browne in the first round of their heavyweight showdown.
Paul Gallen says his earth-moving, first-round knockout of Lucas Browne – Australia's only world heavyweight boxing champion – is a victory for the battlers who dare to dream.
Despite maintaining he's only fighting for money, Gallen announced himself as a heavyweight force to be reckoned with after preserving his unbeaten record with a brutal beat-down of Browne in Wollongong.
Furious about Browne dismissing him as a "footballer", the retired rugby league great sent 'Big Daddy' to the canvas twice inside the first two minutes with a series of devastating blows to the head on Wednesday night.

NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons, Anthony Griffin, the simple phillosophy behind Dragons top four rise

Dragons prepared to play for 90 minutes and expect to have the ball for less than five minutes per match

NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons, Josh McGuire, team-mates welcome new recruit's "mongrel'

St George Illawarra players are excited about the edge Josh McGuire will add to their forward pack after the former Kangaroos and Maroons forward finalised a mid-season transfer from North Queensland.
McGuire will join the Dragons on Wednesday after signing until the end of the 2022 season and has been named in coach Anthony Griffin's 21-man squad for Sunday’s match against the Warriors, alongside fellow new signing Billy Burns.
“Where he fits in I am not too sure,” second-rower Josh Kerr said. “We are obviously on a winning streak so we are going pretty well but Hook might have to have a tough conversation with someone or he might just have to earn his way in.”

NRL 2021: Josh McGuire Dragons deal, North Queensland forward set to switch to St George Illawarra

Josh McGuire is set to agree to an 18-month Dragons deal that could mean he dons the red and white as early as Sunday's clash with the Warriors.
It is understood North Queensland and St George Illawarra have agreed to the final terms of a release for McGuire, with the signing set to be officially announced on Tuesday.
The former Queensland Origin and Australian Test forward has been in the sights of his old Broncos coach Anthony Griffin for some time, having weighed up a Dragons move over the summer before staying put in Townsville.
His Dragons deal is set to run for the rest of 2021 and next season.

NRL 2021: So maybe the Dragons' Anthony Griffin can coach

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Wait. What? Oh …
Sure, it might be a little too early to be writing the “How I got it horribly wrong about Anthony Griffin” column.
It’s round five. Until the 26-12 hatchet job on Parramatta on Sunday night, his side had beaten North Queensland (14th), Manly (15th) and injury ravaged Newcastle (11th).
But that win over Parra has the Dragons in the top four, baby, so let’s acknowledge how Griffin has so far got it right.
Dragons players celebrating victory over Parramatta.
His side isn’t so much bashing the opposition as
bullying them into submission; in the middle and – unlike the previous two seasons – on the edges.

NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons, Anthony Griffin, how old-school bonding session fuelled team's revival

An old-fashioned bonding session organised by St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin after a frustrating training session is being credited by Dragons players with helping to spark their winning start to the season.
Griffin was unhappy with a pre-season session so he cut training short and told the players they would repeat the session the following day – but this time they would get it right.
And then, he said, they would enjoy a few beers together.
“There was a look of shock among the boys,” second-rower Josh Kerr said. “It was like, ‘wow. How good is that!’.
“It sounds crazy but we haven’t had that here before and honestly it is refreshing. It makes you want to play for the coach and play for each other.”

NRL 2021: Parramatta Eels, St George Illawarra Dragons, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Anthony Griffin, RCG planning for middles barrage in Hook, Merrin reunion

Parramatta prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard is not surprised former coach Anthony Griffin has St George Illawarra's forward pack firing through the middle after being written off in the pre-season.
The Dragons matched the star-studded Knights pack for yardage in last week's win in Newcastle despite just 46 percent possession and six fewer sets - an area many expected them to struggle in following the loss of Tyson Frizell. 
Griffin was the coach when Campbell-Gillard signed a mammoth five-year contract extension at the Panthers in 2018, just a month before he parted ways with the club.
The pair have since gone their separate ways in recent years but will face each other for the first time.

Eels prop sees Griffin effect on Dragons

Eels prop sees Griffin effect on Dragons
3 hrs ago
Pamela Whaley
© Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS
Reagan Campbell-Gillard is looking forward to Parramatta's clash with St George Illawarra.
Reagan Campbell-Gillard knows better than anyone how fierce Anthony Griffin is in driving a defensive structure into an NRL team. 
In three seasons under Griffin at Penrith, the now Parramatta prop learned the mettle of the coach who is turning around the Dragons defence after just four NRL games.
During his seven NRL seasons as a coach at Brisbane and then the Panthers, Griffin amassed a 55.5 per cent winning record but crucially never had a team concede an average of more than 20 points a game over a season.

NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons, Adam Clune, Red V preparing for biggest challenge yet against Parramatta Eels

St George Illawarra halfback Adam Clune has hosed down speculation linking him with a move to North Queensland as the Dragons prepare for their biggest challenge of the season against Parramatta on Sunday.
Clune, who had a break-out season with St George Illawarrra last year, stepped in for injured skipper Ben Hunt to steer the team to a third consecutive win in Newcastle last weekend and he is reportedly being eyed off by the struggling Cowboys.
North Queensland lock Josh McGuire has been given permission to seek a new club next season and the Dragons appear to be the front-runners to sign him due to his relationship with coach Anthony Griffin, but the club wants to keep Clune.

Dragons finish over the top of injury-hit Knights

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Dragons finish over the top of injury-hit Knights
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The St George Illawarra Dragons overcame an injury-ravaged Newcastle Knights by 22-13 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Mitchell Pearce, Tex Hoy and Kurt Mann failed to see the game out for Newcastle, whilst David Klemmer played injured for the final quarter of the match.
Tensions were high early when Klemmer and Blake Lawrie locked horns in a scrum. It was to prove the opening salvo of a tough forward battle for the entire afternoon.

NRL 2021: Knights v Dragons round 4

Adam O’Brien will struggle to name 21 healthy Knights to face Gold Coast next Saturday after losing playmakers Mitchell Pearce, Kurt Mann and Tex Hoy to injury in a bruising 22-13 loss to St George Illawarra at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
Pearce, who played his 300th NRL game seven days earlier, could be sidelined for several months after leaving the field in tears in the 25th minute suffering a suspected torn pectoral muscle.
Hoy is expected to miss up to four games with a torn hamstring and Mann was heavily concussed and is unlikely to play against the Titans.

Hunt backs Dragons to go after Fifita

Hunt backs Dragons to go after Fifita
2 hrs ago
Pamela Whaley
© Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS
Andrew Fifita would be a good fit for St George Illawarra, says playmaker Ben Hunt.
Ben Hunt has backed Andrew Fifita to add something different to the St George Illawarra pack if the club pursue their interest in poaching the ex-Test prop from Cronulla.
The former NSW Origin star has been playing reserve grade over the first two rounds of the NRL season and was again named on the Sharks' extended bench this week.
Fifita was plagued with a chronic knee injury last season and played just 12 games, but is understood to be disgruntled about his relegation to feeder club Newtown and is considering his options elsewhere.

Cronulla Sharks win scrappy clash with Dragons; Canberra Raiders beat Wests Tigers with dominant second half

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Cronulla Sharks win scrappy clash with Dragons; Canberra Raiders beat Wests Tigers with dominant second half
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Josh Dugan touched down first against his former club in a scrappy affair.
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The Cronulla Sharks have held on for a 32-18 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons in a game that will leave both sets of fans wanting more from their teams.
Five of the eight tries came after teams failed to diffuse kicks coming their way, the Sharks had a player sin-binned and the Dragons were twice denied by the bunker, including a critical second-half call that would have seen them take a lead in the 62nd minute.

NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons, Winning Starts Monday, Why culture is key to Dragons revival

New St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin has made a lot of changes since taking charge of the Dragons this season but one thing he hasn’t felt the need to do is overhaul the club’s culture.
“Hook jokes about it all the time,” former NSW Origin forward Tariq Sims said. “He says he’s been looking for dickheads and he can’t find any.”
Captain Ben Hunt added: “Hook’s always saying how he’s been here for three months and he’s been trying to find a dickhead but he hasn’t been able to”.
The external expectations for the Dragons in 2021 may be lower than in recent seasons, particularly after their 48-16 humbling by South Sydney in the Charity Shield, but internally the standards have rarely been higher.

NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks, round 1 preview

A new era for St George Illawarra kicks off at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium when the Dragons host traditional rivals Cronulla in the first match of Anthony Griffin's tenure.
The former Broncos and Panthers mentor becomes the eighth coach of the joint-venture, following in the footsteps of David Waite, Andrew Farrar, Nathan Brown, their 2010 premiership winner Wayne Bennett, Steve Price, Paul McGregor and last season's interim appointment, Dean Young.
For the Sharks, coach John Morris is off contract heading into the new season, looking to extend his run of playoff appearances to three straight years after taking the reins when Shane Flanagan departed at the end of 2018.

NRL 2021: St George Illawarra Dragons, season preview

Since leading the 2018 competition from the opening round until a month before the finals, the Dragons haven't had much to celebrate.
A gritty finals exit after South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds kicked three field goals against an injury-depleted team gave hope for the following season but instead, Red V fans have had to endure two years of frustration.
There have been legitimate excuses for St George Illawarra's demise, like the loss of Gareth Widdop and unavailability of Jack de Belin, but ultimately a lack of results cost coach Paul McGregor his job.
However, the Dragons have had a long-term focus on a group of young players who are just beginning to emerge into the NRL ranks and the future looks bright.  

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