Shane Flanagan eases Dragons fans expectations ahead of 2024 season

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
03/02/2024
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Flanagan promises a Finals spot, but asks for patience

The Dragons finished 16th in the ladder last season. Flanagan promises a better result this year.

News Insights

  • Shane Flanagan says fans need to be “a little bit patient.”
  • Dragons finished 16th in the NRL last season.
  • Flanagan promises a Finals Series place in 2024.
  • Dragons have missed out on a number of big signings.

Shane Flagan’s first season in change of St. George Illawarra Dragons promises to be an intriguing one, but the 58-year-old is telling fans to temper their expectations. Dragons finished 16th in the ladder last season. Flanagan says fans need “to be a little bit patient” with his side this season.

Flanagan promises finals series place

The 2023 NRL season went about as poor as it could have for St. George Illawarra Dragons. The Red V fired their head coach Anthony Griffin after just eight rounds. Their interim boss, Ryan Carr, did not do much better. 

The Dragons ended up finishing the season in 16th place, the worst finish in the club’s NRL history. Their new head coach, Shane Flanagan, promises a much better season this time around. 

I want us to compete right to the end and be in the semi-final race right until the end of the season,” said the new Dragons boss. 

If you have a look at all the sides that I’ve coached at the Sharks, we’re going to scrap and fight and kick right until the end. We’ll win footy games on the back of that.

The betting sites disagree with Flanagan and have Dragons as big outsiders to qualify for the Finals series at the end of the season. PlayUp gives the Red V $6.00 odds to finish in the top eight. No team has longer odds.

Recruitment issues plague Dragons

While addressing Dragons’ chances next season, Shane Flanagan specifically addressed the need to sign some more players. “If we add a few classy players in recruitment, then you’ll see us start climbing the table,” he said. 

Signing players has proven to be easier said than done for Dragons this closed season though. The Red V have struck out so far this off-season. The club have missed out on a number of big signings, including Canberra hooker Zac Woolford, who chose to stay with the club. 

Flanagan himself commented on Dragons’ troubles, saying “There aren’t too many players out in the market that can slot in there. If they can find some for me, then I’ll ring the leagues club and I’ll get onto it straightaway, but it’s a tough market.

Flanagan demands patience

The combination of poor results last season and missed signings have rightfully made Dragons’ fans uneasy about their chances in the 2024 season. Flanagan addressed that as well this week. 

The 58-year-old former Dragons player said “I can’t blame them for being impatient. They want their team to win and I love that passion.”

Despite admiring the passion, Flanagan has asked for patience. “Our focus is 2025. We’ve made some changes in 2024, and we’re still looking for some players, maybe in 2024, but our real focus will be for 25-26. Dragons fans will have to be a little bit patient.”

Dragons’ 2024 NRL season starts on Saturday March 9th away to Gold Coast Titans at the Cbus Super Stadium in Robina. This should be one of Dragons’ winnable matches this season, so it will be a good test for Flanagan’s reworked side.