SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 04: Paul Vaughan of the Dragons runs the ball during the round one NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Penrith Panthers at UOW Jubilee Oval on March 4, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Paul Vaughan extends Dragons contract

St George Illawarra have announced that Paul Vaughan has extended his stay at the Dragons until the end of the 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership season.

Vaughan has played every game for the Dragons since joining at the beginning of the year, having played 95 games in the NRL overall.

The Italian international’s strong season so far has seen him play for the NRL All Stars and Country Origin, while he remains in contention to play State of Origin for New South Wales in the coming weeks.

The 26-year-old said re-signing so soon after joining the Dragons has done wonders for his confidence.

“At the start of the season I wanted to start afresh and prove myself all over again. That was one of the biggest things I needed to do,” Vaughan said.

“I think I’m halfway to doing that – I just need to keep playing consistent football.

“I’ve always said I wanted to stay here for as long as I can so with this deal I won’t be off-contract again until I’m in my 30s.”

St George Illawarra Director of Rugby League Pathways Ian Millward said Vaughan’s extension was crucial for future success.

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“We’ve identified him as a future leader and we’ve also been impressed by the way he’s integrated and interacted with the younger forwards,” Millward said.

“Paul has been a tremendous acquisition to the Dragons. By re-signing him, it was a good opportunity to get stability in our forward pack and have that platform there for our halves.”

Vaughan’s re-signing is an additional positive for the Dragons following Russell Packer’s decision to take up a four-year deal at another NRL club from next season.

Millward said the Dragons’ decision not to match the four-year deal was largely due to the younger players coming through the club’s development pathways.

Vaughan’s decision to remain follows the likes of Jack de Belin, Jacob Host, Blake Lawrie, Reece Robson, Luciano Leilua and Tyson Frizell re-signing with the Dragons in recent months.

They will be joined by Tariq Sims, Hame Sele, Josh Kerr, Leeson Ah Mau, Cameron McInnes and Joel Thompson at the Dragons beyond the 2017 season.

“We were definitely keen to keep Russell, he is having a great season and is a great contributor to our club,” Millward said.

“We believe that we made him a good three-year offer but respect and understand his decision to take up an offer elsewhere, and know that he’ll give his best for the remainder of the season.”

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St George Illawarra Dragons 2018 Player Movements

2018 Gains: Mitchell Allgood (Wakefield Trinity, 2018), Jackson Ford (2020), James Graham (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 2020), Ben Hunt (Brisbane Broncos, 2023), Jeremy Latimore (Cronulla Sharks, 2018), Joe Lovodua (2019), Darren Nicholls (Penrith Panthers, 2019)
2018 Losses: Josh Dugan (Cronulla Sharks), Siliva Havili (Canberra Raiders), Drew Hutchison (Leigh Centurions), Chris Lewis (released), Mose Masoe (Hull Kingston Rovers), Will Matthews (Gold Coast Titans), Tyrone McCarthy (Salford Red Devils), Josh McCrone (Toronto Wolfpack), Taane Milne (Wests Tigers), Shaun Nona (Brisbane Broncos), Russell Packer (Wests Tigers), Joel Thompson (Manly Sea Eagles)
Re-Signed: Euan Aitken (2020), Jack de Belin (2020), Jacob Host (2020), Tim Lafai (2020), Blake Lawrie (2019), Kurt Mann (2019), Jason Nightingale (2018), Tristan Sailor (2019), Paul Vaughan (2021), Gareth Widdop (2021)
Off Contract 2018: Leeson Ah Mau, Mitchell Allgood, Reuben Garrick, Patrick Herbert, Jeremy Latimore, Jason Nightingale, Jordan Pereira, Hame Sele


  1. Brilliant news, best signing of the year. I hear Packer is gone, but I’m not too upset, Leilua will surely get his chance now.

    • Yeah, that’s right Daffy.
      When you look at our list of ‘off contract’ players for 2017, you would think a number of those will not be re-signed. Good to see the chances will be given to the younger guys coming through the junior ranks — unlike some other clubs who just try to buy the ‘cream’.

  2. Need to see Lafai back on the books.. happy for the long term approach especially in the halves.

  3. Yes I can’t see Marketo, Masoe, Matthews & McCarthy being resigned.

    Unless on match payments only, having little effect on the salary cap.

    I would like one more first grade standard worker of a prop to replace Packer to continue the 4 prop rotation & cover for potential injuries.

    • mathews is pretty solid, I’d like to see him stay. What’s the story with Masoe. Is he not playing well in the cutters? Given how well our pack is going at the moment it would be tough to break into it.

      • Will Matthews is only just coming into his own game, the preseason did wonders for him… The freak injury didn’t.

        • Indeed, that’s why I think we should keep Matthews. Looking at that list of off contract players I’d not be resigning Nightingale, he’s well past his use by date. I wish he would stand down now for Taane Milne/Mann

  4. Excellent news for the Dragons
    He has made Packer look better than he is,not a great loss and definitely not worth the coin the desperate Tigers have paid!

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