The St George Illawarra Dragons have today announced the signings of three outside backs in Mikaele Ravalawa, Jonus Pearson and Jason Saab.
The Dragons were able to secure the signatures of these three youngsters through the departure of Nene MacDonald.
Ravalawa will join the Red V on a two-year deal with the club after leaving the Canberra Raiders and will remain at the Dragons until the end of the 2020 season.
A member of Fiji’s Rugby League World Cup squad, Ravalawa was also named the Raiders’ Under 20s Player of the Year in 2017.
Although Ravalawa couldn’t crack into the Raiders’ first grade side, he managed 13 appearances for their feeder club the Mounties where he produced 11 tries and 66 tackle breaks.
Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways Ian Millward said the club is excited to see what he has to offer.
“Mika is really exciting and by securing him we have signed a player who has shown he’s capable of scoring numerous tries and has a high try-scoring rate,” Millward told dragons.com.au.
“He’s very quick and extremely good in the air, and while he hasn’t played first grade, we were looking to help generate a player coming through the ranks into a really good NRL player and we believe he has the ability to do that.”
Pearson also joins the club on a two-year deal coming across from the Brisbane Broncos as he too remains at the Dragons until the end of the 2020 season.
Making his debut late in 2016, Pearson has managed 11 first grade games for the Broncos but is looking to get more game time elsewhere.
Millward said the club is looking forward to developing Pearson’s ability further.
“Jonus is another exciting prospect for the Dragons. At 23 years of age, we think he’ll come into his prime at the Dragons,” Millward said.
“When we look at outside backs, two factors we focus on in with our criteria is speed and their ability to jump for the ball, and Jonus certainly ticks all those boxes.”
Saab has signed a four-year deal consisting of two years in the development squad before joining the NRLs Top 30 for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
The Under-18s NSW representative is being consisted as one of the games next best things with justification coming in the form of his Australian Schoolboys selection.
Millward said signing another outside back with capabilities such a Saab’s will benefit the club greatly.
“Jason is a player we’ve developed through the local ranks. He’s tall and athletic, and while we want to develop him slowly, when he has the talent that he has he might be [pushing for higher honours] sooner rather than later,” Millward said.
“We believe he has a huge future at the Dragons moving forward.”
“We are still on the lookout but we want to be patient once again. We don’t feel at the moment what we’re looking for is currently out there.
“We have certain criteria’s that we’re looking at and we don’t want to compromise ourselves by signing someone just to make up the numbers.
“We’re really excited about the players we’re bringing in – keeping in mind that Zac Lomax is an outstanding prospect – but we’re still on the lookout for one more player.”