NSW coach Laurie Daley has revealed his assistant Paul McGregor was in two minds about replacing Steve Price at St George Illawarra after the Dragons mentor’s axing.
Daley gave his blessing and urging to McGregor to leave the Blues’ State of Origin camp in Brisbane and return to Wollongong on Sunday evening to prepare the Dragons for their NRL clash with South Sydney next Monday.
He will fill the head coaching role at the joint-venture for the remainder of the 2014 season as the club decides who gets the job thereafter.
‘‘He told me last night what was happening and he needed to get away. It’s a great opportunity for him,’’ said Daley at the Blues’ team hotel on Monday.
‘‘He was torn because Steve Price is a great mate of his.
‘‘He’d spoken to Steve and was torn between taking the job and feeling he’d be able to add something to the team.
‘‘But when I spoke to him I said he should grab it with two hands as these opportunities don’t come around too often.’’
McGregor was overseeing the players’ weights program in camp and will return to Brisbane on Wednesday so he can fill his other role of running messages and water to players on the field at Suncorp Stadium.
‘‘Mary (McGregor) will be back on game day, he rang me last night and I said don’t worry about it,’’ Daley said.
‘‘But he wants to come back and do his job on game night which is very important to us.
‘‘He’ll come back Wednesday and fly back on Thursday.’’
Trent Merrin and Brett Morris are the only two Dragons players in the Blues side and Daley said he had no concerns about their focus leading into Wednesday’s Origin opener.
‘‘I will sit down and talk to the them at some stage, but I would think the Dragons boys will solely be focussed on Origin,’’ he said.
‘‘They’ll focus on their club at 10pm on Wednesday night.’’
Daley had recently been linked with the Dragons job but he denied any interest in filling the post next season.
‘‘For me it’s about NSW. I am committed here to getting the job done,’’ he said.