The name St George, the famous red V and games at Kogarah are expected to be protected after WIN Corporation finally struck a deal to partially privatise the St George Illawarra Dragons.
It is believed an official announcement could come as early as this week to confirm the deal just months after the television network walked away from negotiations to buy a stake in the club.
Fairfax Media have reported the Dragons’ multimillion-dollar loan sourced from the NRL will be repaid and their home game allocation, with matches at Kogarah and Wollongong, will remain largely intact.
The move will end years of speculation about the future of the Dragons, who will now be able to compete financially with rival NRL clubs.
WIN have taken the Steelers’ 50 per cent share in the Dragons, according to a News Corp report, with former chief executive Brian Johnston to return to the role as Peter Doust’s replacement.
Doust, the NRL’s longest-serving CEO, has been in charge of the Dragons for 18 years but will retire at the end of the season.
Andrew Gordon, son of WIN’s multi-millionaire owner Bruce Gordon, has been appointed chairman according to the report while coach Paul McGregor is understood to enjoy support from the new Dragons’ ownership group.
On the field, the Dragons will play in just their second NRL finals series in the last seven years next month.
With two winnable regular season matches remaining, St George Illawarra are expected to hang on to a top four finish.
The Dragons are fourth on for and against, just in front of Penrith and local rivals Cronulla.
After a blockbuster clash with local rivals Canterbury at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Sunday, the Dragons head to Newcastle to take on the Knights in the final round of the season on September 1.
St George Illawarra snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday night, with the undermanned Dragons scoring a vital 20-10 victory over the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval to see them take advantage of the Panthers’ slip up against the Knights.