Russell Packer
Russell Packer warms up during a New Zealand Warriors NRL training session at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The St George Illawarra Dragons today announce the signing of Russell Packer to a two-year playing contract following approval this week from the NRL.

Packer, 26, will officially join the Dragons squad for 2016 and 2017 whilst at the same time, continuing to maintain his commitment to Dragons Community programs and his personal and professional development outside of rugby league.

“I am very thankful and grateful for the opportunity to return to the NRL with the Dragons,” said Packer. “I have learned a great deal and changed a lot over the past two years and I couldn’t be happier with where things are at for me and my family.

“My family and so many people at the Dragons and the NRL have shown great faith in me and I look forward to repaying them for their belief and support over the coming seasons both on and off the field”.



    • I think the obvious buys of the year are


      But then there’s 3 players I think could be excellent buys
      Parcell (Absolute freak)
      Packer (Big beast)
      Sezer (Great to watch, old head on young shoulders)

        • Forgot about him, he and Koroisau will battle out for rake of the year, Koroisau is pretty solid and it’s time for him to stand up.

        • You obviously haven’t seen Cook play have you. He has great speed over 40 & has vision and skill. Yes Koroisau is a great player as well he did a great job for us in the gf and he will be good as well but you can’t just leave Cook out

        • No mate I’ve watched cook play he is great, bit like Granville, more of a defender then Granville and can play 80 mins, Koroisau and cook for me will be hooker of the year, both have an opportunity to be a first choice hooker for a club into the future and need to step up, I see them doing that big time!

  1. Good news for Dragons fans and for Packer and his family. The Dragons will have their first genuine front rower on the paddock since Michael Weyman.

  2. Good luck to him. He committed a serious offence but from all reports did his time without complaint and looks to have made a genuine effort to change his ways.

    I hope he takes his second chance with both hands.

    • Has the law changed just for him. From what we are hearing here in NZ is, if you have served 12 months in an australian jail then you get deported

  3. Now before all the haters get on the band wagon (and I was one of them) go and read the full story.
    When we took this bloke on I was totally against it.
    After reading what he has done off the playing field to redeem himself he’s good for a second chance

    Saints have some good combos next year
    Masoe Packer
    Cooper Armadillo
    Widdop Benji

    • No way Pedro you weren’t against his signing surely not. Lol.
      Well done to Packer for your redeeming efforts off the field. I hope your wrongful actions and now education of this stop other young people getting into the same trouble.
      No Matter what people think everyone deserves a second chance and it looks like Packer has taken it.
      Good luck to him.

      • Yeh. I wrote some dirty posts about him…CMTD, I also said I’ll eat my hat if I’m wrong.
        I don’t own a hat….

      • What a load of dribble.
        Get your head stomped on by a gronk and tell me then he deserves a second chance!

  4. Cant believe this s**t. if a player Stuffs up big time like this idiot they should be banned from nrl for life. Its stupid how one club has to sack them and another club can sign them up no worries.

    • I sort of agree with you but to be honest they can change. Look at Wicks, he has done absolutely nothing wrong and been a leader in our pack, especially to the juniors and been a role model off field. Just maybe they should have one final chance.

  5. It still isn’t known if he stomped on someone’s head. It is known he got into a fight at a bar. It is not known who instigated the fight. Packer then pleaded guilty to assault charges after the incident. Allegedly the stomp on his head statement was made after packer had already plead guilty. And allegedly he denied having done this. Now I don’t know what happened, it was a closed trial so the media don’t know what happened in court yet alone at the scene. But reports are he has accepted he made mistakes, served his time and is a better man for it. Why should he now not be afforded the opportunity to move on with his life?

    • I got locked up for a day and a night (in the Middle East) … It was more than enough for me to change my attitude.. He was locked up for nearly two years I think., pretty sure it was more than enough for him to reflect on what he did.

      I’m against saints signing thugs and that’s what he was .. then. I guess that he “could” be a perfect example to other idiots before they take the wrong lane in life.

      Happy to be proven wrong about my initial rant 12 months ago.

  6. The bloke is scum bashed a bloke the stomped on his head and idiots believe gronks like these deserve second chances.
    Bet if you were the victim or your family member was you wouldn’t believe that he deserves a second chance.

  7. Gregjm cctv proved it enough to warrant two years jail the victim didn’t make a statement against him for charges to be layed you work it out you obviously didn’t follow this story at the time you don’t get two years for your average pub fight.

    • Your answer is perfect, you don’t get two years for your average pub fight…
      What happens after you serve the correct time is what makes the difference.

      Let’s say the conviction was 3 months ? Does that say it was just a pub fight.
      He deserved everything he got, he admits that…

  8. To the people that don’t think that people who make mistakes deserve a second chance.

    “Wake up to yourselves”.

    Why would you persecute someone for the rest of their life for making a mistake? If someone is making an effort to learn from their mistakes and change their life to become a better person, isn’t that a good thing?

    If everyone had the view to not give people a second chance, there would be a lot more bad people in the world, and the world would be a much worse place than it already is. It would be a no way out mentality for these people, and why would they change if people didn’t give them a second chance, so they might as well continue being bad.

    My point is, if someone is willing to change, why would you hold them back and stop them from becoming a better person.

    Nelson Mandela is and will always be one of the greatest men to go down in history because he embraced change and changed the ways and the thinking of almost a whole nation, but Mandela was no saint (If you don’t know much about this great man, I urge you to read about him). He actually believed in violence for the greater good and went from a prison cell to the leader of his nation.

    Now I’m not actually comparing Russell Packer to Nelson Mandela, I’m just trying to open people’s minds to show that giving someone a second chance if a positive thing, and that people can change.

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