This is the first in a series of articles looking at some of the players who only briefly represented your club. Many players pass through a club, some don’t reach their potential until they move on to greener pastures, and for others, just a few NRL games is all they ever get.
Nearly 240 players have run out in first grade for the St George Illawarra Dragons since the club merger at the beginning of the 1999 season.
Players like Ben Hornby, Mark Gasnier, Tyson Frizell and Gareth Widdop have played many seasons for the club and are well known by most league supporters, but there were quite a few lesser-known Dragons who may now be forgotten.
Here’s a team made up of players who played just a handful of games for the club since 1999. How many do you remember?
1. Justin Hunt
The son of Parramatta Eel Neil Hunt, Justin came to the Dragons in 2015 after short stints with both South Sydney and the Parramatta Eels. He managed just three games for the Dragons in 2015 before heading to Wests Tigers for the 2016 season and then retiring in 2017.
2. Andrew Frew
Frew was a speedster and a noted try-scorer and appeared for the Dragons in one game in the 2004 season against Brisbane where he scoring a try. He spent the previous six seasons at six different clubs in both the NRL and the ESL. Frew ran into a few problems with the law following his retirement.
3. Junior Langi
The former Australian Schoolboy representative made his NRL debut for the Dragons in 2000 and played three games that season before heading to Melbourne in 2001 followed by stints at both Parramatta and Salford. The hard-running centre retired at the age of just 25 due to illness.
4. Shane Marteene
Marteene was a clever centre who came to the Dragons in the middle of the 2005 season after notching up over 90 games with both Canterbury and Souths in a ten-year career. However, he only managed two first-grade games with the Dragons and retired at the end of the 2005 season.
5. Yaw Kiti Glymin
Of Ghanaian descent, Glymin was a talented and speedy winger who came through the junior ranks at the Dragons, finally making his first-grade debut at the age of 22 against the Cowboys in Round 17 of the 2015 season. Big things were expected of Glymin and he was re-signed until the end of the 2017 season, only to be eventually released with just one first grade game to his name. Another promising career cut short by recurring injuries.
6. Ben Rogers
Rogers came to the Dragons in 2008 after 47 games for both Souths and the Panthers over five seasons. He played five games for the Dragons that year before heading to Newcastle in 2009. He was eventually stood down by the Knights in 2011 for disciplinary reasons.
7. Ben Jeffries
Jeffries had a long rugby league career, notching up over 280 games primarily in the ESL. A Newcastle Knights junior, he made his first-grade debut when he ran out for the Dragons in their Round 4 match against the Warriors in 2001. He then switched to the Wests Tigers mid-season before heading to the ESL in 2002, where he played for the next 11 years. Since 2014, he has been a successful coach.
8. Jack Bosden
A Cronulla junior, Bosden made his first-grade debut for the Dragons in Round 9 of the 2011 season, going on to play a total of four games for the Dragons that year with three of them off the bench. He then had two relatively unsuccessful seasons for the Roosters in 2012 and 2013 before heading to the Wollongong local competition.
9. Warren Carney
If you blinked, you missed it. Warren Carney had a very brief NRL career playing just one game for the Dragons in 1999 and three for the Wests Tigers in 2001.
10. Luke Page
Amazingly, Luke Page has played 11 internationals for Papua New Guinea but just one game in the NRL when he ran out for the Dragons in Round 17 of the 2015 season. The 29-year-old has been around NRL clubs since 2009 and his highlights reel from the lower grades is impressive, but a first-grade career managed to elude him.
11. Wade Forrester
Forrester played two games off the bench for the Dragons in 2001 after three seasons with the Cronulla Sharks. He then moved on to the Northern Eagles in 2002 where he ended his NRL career. In recent years he has been coaching in the Wollongong competition.
12. Atelea Vea
Vea was a journeyman forward who played for six clubs in both the NRL and ESL in a nine-year career, as well as representing Tonga on two occasions. After stints at both Cronulla and Melbourne, he joined the Dragons in 2012 and played just three first-grade games in the next two years, two of them off the bench. He then headed to the ESL for the rest of his career.
13. Lee Te Marie
Te Mari played his junior football in Western Australia before being signed by the Dragons. A tearaway forward, he made his debut in 2006 but played just two games for the club before heading to the Bulldogs in 2007. He played his last NRL game for Parramatta in 2010.
14. Mark Ioane
A big, bullocking front-rower, Ioane had a brief five-game stint with the Dragons after transferring to them from the Titans in the middle of the 2015 season. He then left the Dragons the following year for the London Broncos where he stayed for the next four years. He is currently playing for Leigh Centurians.
15. Tyrone McCarthy
A clever and hard-working back-rower, McCarthy came to the Dragons in 2016 with big expectations, after a seven-year career in both England and the Northern Pride in QLD. Things didn’t pan out as planned, however, and he managed only two first grade games with the Dragons before returning to England in 2017 to play for the Salford Red Devils. To date, McCarthy has also represented Ireland on 18 occasions.
16. Aaron Wheatley
Hailing from West Wyalong, the tough second-rower made his NRL debut for the Dragons in 2004 and played five first-grade games that season. His career was then put on hold for a while due to illness and injury before he finally made it back into the NRL for two games with the Bulldogs in 2007.
17. Mitchell Allgood
A big, fiery front-rower who never took a backward step, Allgood unfortunately never really fired for the Dragons making just two first grade appearances in two years. Allgood currently plays for the London Broncos.
Some other notable short-timers were QLD Origin rep Dane Nielsen who played two games for the Dragons before departing the club in regrettable circumstances; and the late Ryan Tandy, who played three games for the Red V in 2003, and later had his own personal issues.
There will be further articles covering forgotten pre-merger players from both St George Dragons and the Illawarra Steelers in the days ahead, as well as the forgotten players of all the other clubs.