There was a lot of speculation as to who would take assume the head coaching role at the St George Illawarra Dragons full-time but that can now end, with interim coach Paul McGregor the man for the job.
The Dragons board acted swiftly and sought to wrap up McGregor as the club’s coach moving forward for the the next three seasons.
McGregor has been in charge since Rd 12 with some inconsistent results and for the club CEO Peter Doust, he believes the former player is the right man for the job.
â€œWe are very pleased to have been able to reach an agreement with Paul McGregor that will see him take on the Head Coach role full-time from next season,â€ said Doust.
â€œAnyone who knows and speaks with Paul can clearly understand his passion for the Dragons, his honesty and drive to succeed.
â€œA very detailed process was undertaken with a variety of coaches and scenarios considered but on balance, the Board determined that Paul was the most appropriate fit for our Club moving forward.
McGregor is backed by the players and the board, sentiments echoed by Doust.
â€œPaulâ€™s preparedness to take on the role mid-season and the way he has gone about this is to be respected,” said Doust.
â€œHe has enormous support and respect within the Dragons, particularly from the playing group and also from rugby league coaches, players and administrators outside of the Dragons.
â€œPaul has had success and experience in the local Illawarra league and Illawarra Cutters with part-time and NRL players and also in the representative arena with NSW Country and Origin.â€
For the man himself, he is thrilled to have been given the full-time role. With the club meaning the world to him, McGregor is honoured to coach the club moving forward.
â€œIt was an absolute honour to play and Captain the Dragons and to now be given the opportunity to be the Head Coach on a full-time basis is an even greater honour,â€ said McGregor.
â€œI am extremely passionate about the Club, I understand what this Club means to everyone associated with it and a big part of me wanting to take this position is the opportunity for me to give back to the Club and game that has given me so much.
â€œWhen I first began coaching after retiring from playing, I did this because I felt that I had something to offer and I wanted to share my experience and make players both better players and better people and this will continue to be a guiding principle for me.
Although he admits that coming into the head coaching role mid-season was a challenge, he welcomed the hospitality and warm nature of the players and staff towards him. .
â€œWhen I took over the role half-way through the year it was definitely in difficult circumstances and despite the concerns that I had at the start of the journey, I have loved every minute of it,” said McGregor.
â€œThe response of the players, the challenge and the positive rewards gave me the desire to put my hand up for the role full-time.â€
Additionally, McGregor intends to have the Dragons side play and work hard to keep their finals hopes alive and to prepare for the years ahead.
â€œI and the current squad still have a big job in front of us and my focus wonâ€™t be taken from this,â€ said McGregor.
â€œHowever, knowing that I will here for the next three years now allows me the opportunity to have a good look at our squad, our juniors, our systems and recruitment and make decisions about what is needed to return our Club to the top of the game.
â€œWe have a young squad that will develop over time and I am really excited about the opportunities over the next three years.
â€œThere is no doubt going to be some tough times and tough decisions along the way, but I will always do what I believe is in the best interests of the Club and team.
â€œIt is my job to make the tough decisions as we havenâ€™t consistently played Finals Football for a while and that is not good enough for our Club.â€