The St George Illawarra Dragons' junior stocks have taken a hit, with the sons of David Riolo, Rod Wishart and Brett Rodwell all now having been confirmed to leave the club.

Riolo played 90 games for the Illawarra Steelers between 1990 and 1996, before finishing his career at the Parramatta Eels. He also represented Italy once, and coached the national team three times between 2003 and 2006.

Rodwell, a centre, played 156 games for the Steelers between 1989 and 1997, and also played once for New South Wales during a glittering career.

Wishart was the best of the three though, playing 22 games for New South Wales and 17 Tests for Australia during what was effectively a one club career, playing 154 games for the Steelers before also spending the final year of his career at the joint venture St George Illawarra Dragons.

The trio all grew up in the Illawarra and have remained there, however, the same can no longer be said for their sons, with all three bailing on the Dragons junior development program.

The Illawarra is one of the state's biggest and best junior nursery, with the Dragons able to call on plenty of home grown talent over the years - this includes this year's departure Matt Dufty, but also includes the likes of Jayden Sullivan and Tyrell Sloan who will take over roles in the first grade team during 2022.

Tyron Wishart, Rod's son, had the most fanfare surrounding his departure as he went to the Melbourne Storm, however, Rodwell and Riolo have both left the club in recent times as well.

Rodwell has gone to the Sydney Rosters, while Riolo has joined arch-rivals the Cronulla Sharks.

All three have achieved numerous accolades through junior rugby league, and could join a growing list of Dragons' junior talent abandoning the club.

Reuben Garrick, Jason Saab, Reece Robson and Luciano Leilua are among the players who have left the Dragons in the past couple of years, only to take their careers to great lengths at other clubs.

Anthony Griffin and the recruitment team at the club have seemingly taken an eye to experience, bringing in the likes of Moses Mbye, George Burgess and Francis Molo for 2022, while Andrew McCullough and Josh McGuire have also been added to the team in the last 12 months.


  1. Glad you have highlighted this issue. The lack of foresight and apparent lack of judgement is very glaring from those involved in dragons/steelers recruitment especially those in charge of junior rep teams . Watch how poorly the SG Ball team performs this next season. Some very innocuous selections to say the least.

  2. Pathetic!

    Aging import “has beens” instead of local talent.
    You should all be ashamed. You’re meant to represent our region…

    Top eight in 2022? No hope!

  3. Garrick was really good this year. Saab was good in some periods but to a large extent, both rode the coat tails of Trobojevic. Robson and Leilua aren’t a loss.

  4. Thank goodness, at last we are not being railroaded by the Illawarra mafia, simply because these players are sons of former Steelers doesnt mean they get the saloon passage. enough of the nepotism & more reality. Illawarra must realise that they achieved nothing in their short stay in the NRL & those people responsible for this still have their claws into the Dragons, just let go you failed Steelers .

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