Dragons Hire Hit Man

Former Kiwis rugby league enforcer Quentin Pongia will join St George Illawarra in May as cover for front rowers who are expected to be on State of Origin duty.

Pongia, 32, is currently with French division one team Villeneuve and will start playing for the Dragons when his time with them finishes.

That could be early or late May depending on whether Villeneuve are involved in the championship playoffs.

Dragons coach Nathan Brown said Pongia was a "good, tough player" whose experience in what is a young National Rugby League squad would be invaluable.

He is expected to provide cover for frontline props Jason Ryles and Luke Bailey, who are likely New South Wales selections for the State of Origin series.

Pongia would be on an incentive-based contract, based on the number of matches he played, Brown said.

Pongia, a 35-test veteran for the Kiwis, played for Canberra between 1993 and 1997 and spent a year with the Auckland Warriors before a two-season stint at the Sydney Roosters.

He went to France last year, but only played a handful of games for Paris-Chatillon before becoming disillusioned with the set-up there. He was picked by Villeneuve in December.