Leading into this week�s Cronulla vs St George Illawarra game, as part of an ongoing preview, I thought it would be best to look at and debunk some of the myths surrounding the St George Illawarra Dragons, when compared to their rivals. After some research, here is what I found out.
Myth: St George Illawarra has a history which dates back to 1921.
Truth: All official NRL records and statistics indicate that the joint venture came into existence in 1999, as a 50/50 merge between the St George and Illawarra clubs. While the St George club, which dates back to 1921, remains in existence in the junior grades and as a 50% stakeholder in the St George Illawarra club, it no longer holds a position in the First Grade. As a result of this, St George Illawarra has zero premierships against its name, despite what some vocal Dragons� supporters may insist. This is confirmed by the NRL�s official information handbook, the 2003 Media Guide.
Myth: St George Illawarra has been the better team.
Truth: Since 1999, the Dragons have played 132 games, winning 64 of them. This equates to a winning percentage of just under half � 48.49%. In comparison, Cronulla have competed 133 games, winning 73 of them. This is a winning percentage of 54.89%. From this, it is clear that Cronulla have been the better performing team since St George Illawarra arrived on the scene.
Myth: St George Illawarra is the dominant of the two clubs.
Truth: Since St George Illawarra�s inception, the two clubs have played twelve matches. From that twelve, Cronulla have won 8, St George Illawarra 3 and there has been a single draw. The Sharks have won 67% compared to the Dragons� measly 25%. Furthermore, in matches played between the two clubs, Cronulla have scored 281 points, while St George Illawarra have managed only 229. Therefore, we can conclude that Cronulla are in fact the dominant club.
Myth: St George Illawarra sticks to their famous jersey, while Cronulla appear to change every other year.
Truth: Since St George Illawarra�s inception, both clubs have used different jerseys. Cronulla have worn five jerseys: the Pepsi jersey, the shark fin jersey, the current gills design, the 2002 commemorative jersey and the current white away strip. In the same period of time, the Dragons have worn six different jerseys: the red vee, the Where�s Wally away jersey, the Steelers commemorative strip and three ANZAC day limited edition jerseys. Whereas the Dragons red vee jersey has been a mainstay throughout the period, Dragons administration has used special edition jerseys to suck money out of fans that otherwise wouldn�t be purchasing new merchandise. We can conclude that Cronulla has, in fact, used fewer jerseys in the same period of time.
Myth: St George Illawarra is a more heavily supported team.
Truth: Since 1999, Cronulla has had better crowd attendances in every year except for 2003. Aggregate crowd figures put Cronulla a long way in front � not including 2004, Cronulla�s total aggregate for this period is 821 388. This is compared to St George Illawarra�s total of 731 666 � almost 90 000 in favour of Cronulla. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that Cronulla are the more heavily supported team.
Myth: St George fans fought Illawarra fans at the corresponding game Sharks vs Dragons game last season.
Truth: Unfortunately for Dragons fans, this one is the truth, and indicative of the rabble that the joint venture is. As the team fell behind on the scoreboard, tempers flared, and punches were thrown. A united club? Far from it.