ILLAWARRA RUGBY LEAGUE DIVISION
Rugby League has been the major sport in Illawarra since 1911 and the centenary was celebrated in 2011.
The four major legacies established are:
Naming of the Illawarra “Team of the Century”, which is proudly displayed in the Steelers Club entry.
The centenary sculpture that stands outside WIN Stadium, directly opposite the Steelers Club.
A Centurions’ Wall –displaying the names of individuals, businesses, clubs -- contributors to the future of Illawarra Junior
Publication of the Centenary Book – covering 100 years of historical events.
Known throughout the Rugby League world as the “Nursery of Champions”, the Illawarra region has produced 47 male and 26 female senior Australian representatives, who came from the local schools and junior Leagues – displayed at the front of the Steelers Club.
Illawarra gained CRL District, Group and finally Divisional status (1966). The region’s major achievement was being accepted into the world’s major Rugby League competition in 1982. This was when the District Club was formed – Illawarra Steelers -- and was the catalyst to the de-centralisation of Rugby League in Australia. The District Club adopted the “Steelers” emblem in recognition of the region’s major steel industries.
The opening of the Steelers Licensed Rugby League Club in 1990 was supported initially by 621 Gold Foundation Members, who had contributed $1,000 each to secure the land on which the club building stands.
The charter of the company – Illawarra District Rugby League Football Club Limited (trading as Steelers) – is to provide headquarters for Rugby League in the region; and to propagate and develop the game (at all levels – male and female). Members elect a Board of Directors to oversee all aspects of the company – licensed club and Rugby League – and to raise revenue for Rugby League and members’ facilities.
The Steelers teams – both seniors and juniors/male and female – have carried the region’s scarlet colours with pride and success over nearly four decades. The Steelers licensed club has become recognised as the host venue for all major sporting events staged in Illawarra. The upstairs function room carries the name of the club’s traditional colours – Scarlett’s.
ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
The Illawarra Steelers competed in the ARL/NRL First Grade competition for 17 years, before forming a joint-venture with St. George in 1999. This was the first joint-venture in the major Rugby League competition – following the Super League “disruptions” of 1996-98.
St. George Illawarra Dragons reached the grand final in the initial year of 1999 and won the joint-venture club’s first premiership in 2010 – also taking out the World Club Challenge with a win over Wigan in the UK.
The Steelers provide support to the Dragons, by way of fielding Junior Reps and Women’s Rep. teams; as well as having entered teams into NSW Cup (open age) – Illawarra Cutters – winners of the State and Australian titles in 2016. The Dragons greatly benefit from the pathway provided for young players from the Illawarra/South Coast competitions.