Defiant St George Illawarra coach Steve Price is adamant he deserves to keep the top job long-term, even though his future is out of his hands.
Speaking at the Charity Shield launch at ANZ Stadium yesterday, Price is expected to learn whether Melbourne Storm premiership coach Craig Bellamy will take over in 2014, even before the annual preseason clash with South Sydney.
With Bellamy likely to announce as early as next week if he will take up a $5 million deal with the Dragons or stay in Melbourne, Price has vowed to prove he is up to the task.
"I'm a very driven sort of guy," he said.
"I don't buy into that media speculation, my sole focus is 2013.
"I love this footy club and I want to be part of it for many years to come."
Captain Ben Creagh, taking over from 2010 premiership skipper Ben Hornby, said Price had the full support of the playing group and hoped he remained at the helm in pursuit of another title.
"He's doing a great job," he said.
"It's not a distraction because Price is our coach in 2013 and there's no way around that.
"[Price's future] hasn't been discussed, because to tell you the truth we're training six days a week and we're focusing on doing right to prepare for the trials and for the season."
Bellamy has previously stated he intended to make a decision on coaching either the Storm or moving to Wollongong to take charge of the Dragons before the World Club Challenge game against Leeds, played within 24 hours of the Charity Shield.
The Dragons have made the lucrative approach less than two years after Wayne Bennett - who took over from Nathan Brown and won the 2010 premiership - left to join Newcastle.
Price's team finished ninth last year but struggled in attack, scoring the least points of any team.
Part of the Dragons coaching system since 2002, Price said he had no issue with the club or chief executive Peter Doust over the Bellamy deal putting him in such a difficult position before a try had even been scored this season.
"Like all clubs, they've got a responsibility when players come off contract to talk to other players," he said.
"It's no distraction to me, it's going to be tough against the current premiers, we've got the utmost respect for them as a footy club."
Price said he had learned from his debut season in charge of the club and had clear plans for leading the Dragons back to being a premiership force, avoiding the mistakes of last season.