Maddie Studdon to lead star-studded St George Illawarra Dragons in NRLW season opener against Brisbane Broncos

Star power: Halfback Maddie Studdon will look to lead St George Illawarra to the NRLW title this season. Picture: Dragons
Star power: Halfback Maddie Studdon will look to lead St George Illawarra to the NRLW title this season. Picture: Dragons

St George Illawarra will start their second NRLW season on Sunday as premiership favourites.

While there will be no September football for the club's NRL side, the Dragons take on Brisbane at Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium on Sunday in the opening round of the women's competition.

The match will be played before the NRL elimination final between the Eels and the Broncos.

St George Illawarra were disappointing last season, finishing fourth out of the four teams after the three regular season rounds.

They lost heavily to the Sydney Roosters and eventual premiers Brisbane but have launched a strong recruitment drive to turn their fortunes around.

While Jillaroos forward and NSW captain Kezie Apps remains as one of only eight Dragons players who wore the red V during the inaugural season, 14 new players have arrived at the club, 12 of which have made their 17-woman squad for the Broncos clash.

They are headlined by Jillaroos hooker and Dally M Medal winner Brittany Breayley joining from Brisbane and NSW halfback Maddie Studdon from the Roosters.

Studdon, a Cronulla local, is a massive coup for the Dragons and will be vital against the reigning premiers.

Dragons coach Daniel Lacey said he was excited by his new-look squad.

"It has been a big build up to it. We've trained really hard and we're really looking forward to Sunday," he said.

"It's a big test. We go up against the reigning premiers straight up [in] round one. We're looking to [break their] unbeaten run and kick our season off.

"It's really rewarding to see it all come together now on the back of all the recruitment we've done, the research that we've done and the training. The girls are really excited and I can't wait to see what they can offer in the red V jumper."

The match kicks off at 2.05pm on Sunday.

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