St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust has labelled this year’s results as ‘‘unacceptable’’ as the club confirmed Steve Price’s sacking as coach in a video message.
Assistant coach Paul McGregor will take over in a caretaker role this season continuing his remarkable rise as coach through the ranks from Wests in the Illawarra Coal League and the Illawarra Cutters in the NSW Cup.
The Dragons posted a video on their website on Monday morning, confirming the decision to sack Price, as they try and keep their NRL finals hopes alive this season.
Doust said McGregor would takeover after the club's board resolved not to exercise an option to extend Price's contract for 2015.
‘‘Team performances, results have been unacceptable and we want to see and give this season as much of a chance as we could.’’
Price has been in the Dragons coaching ranks since 2002 and took over from 2010 premiership winning coach Wayne Bennett.
‘‘Steve Price is leaving with a great history at the club, he is respected for his contribution in many, many ways.
‘‘He’s a guy of high integrity and we wish him well for the future.’’
McGregor said it was a difficult time to take over at the Dragons.
“The board wanted the change to be as simple as possible for the players and for their sake I agreed,” said McGregor.
“This is a difficult situation for me, Steve Price is a good friend of mine and we have worked closely together and I would have liked us to work through these tough times as one."
McGregor has returned to Wollongong, after leaving the NSW Blues Origin on Sunday, for Dragons training this week in preparation for next Monday night’s game against the Rabbitohs, although he will fulfil his Origin duties in Brisbane on Wednesday night.
Price has been under considerable pressure in recent weeks after the Dragons slumped to six losses in their past seven games. He had a contract until the end of this season with the club having an option on his services for next year.
Dragons players were told of Price’s axing early on Monday morning.
He was granted a one year extension early last year. The Dragons started the year well winning their opening three games.
NSW Origin forward Trent Merrin expressed surprise at the decision in Brisbane on Monday morning.
I’m surprised about it all. It’s a shame that it has happened to him. I have been under him since-20s. I’ve had a lot to do with Pricey," Trent Merrin said.
"He is a mate as well as a coach.
"It’s come as a surprise. I think we have to move on and we have a job to do for the Dragons."
MORE TO COME