Shane Flanagan has delcared the St George Illawarra Dragons can play finals football in 2024.

Flanagan, who has been working from a distance since being announced as the new head coach of the club to take over from the sacked Anthony Griffin, will take over fulltime in the coming weeks as his commitments with the Manly Sea Eagles wrap up.

The incoming coach has already made changes to the club, with Jayden Sullivan released and speculation surrounding the future of Talatau Amone.

He has also held firm on Ben Hunt's request for a release from the Dragons, who haven't made finals in recent seasons.

Speaking to the club website, Flanangan said some of the performances from his new side at the back end of the 2023 season proved the Dragons have the ability to play finals. He also said re-engaging a disillusioned fan base would be key.

“There were games early on (in 2023 that we should have won). A few others with goalkicking, we could have won. A couple of ones where we got the wrong end of the refereeing decision and at the back end of the year I thought we competed really hard but we just couldn't get the result.

“We just need to put a bit of polish on our performance. Without a doubt we've got the talent there to play semi-finals and that will be the goal.

“We have to win games away from home, we didn't do that well at all this year and then make WIN and Kogarah fortresses again and make sure clubs don't want to go there.”

Flanagan said the Dragons were in for a "tough but smart" pre-season under his watch, with the incoming coach to be joined by lead assistants Dean Young, who rejoins the club from the North Queensland Cowboys, and Ryan Carr, who has served as interim boss this year.

The coach said the club would have another two or three signings before Christmas.

“We'll have two or three more before Christmas and then we'll see what happens, we'll probably keep two spots available in our top 30 rolling into next year," Flanagan said.

“We've got some really good juniors coming through on our development list, there's four or five really good players there and then our train-and-trial players, the quality of the players in there is really good so I'm looking forward to working with them and who knows where those young boys can go."