Paul McGregor’s unexpected, and temporary, ascension to the Dragons head coaching role will force a reshuffle in the NSW coaching ranks after Origin I on Wednesday.
McGregor was in camp with the Blues before he was summoned back to the Dragons on Sunday and thrust into the coaching hot-seat after the sacking of Steve Price.
McGregor will fulfil his assistant coaching duties for the Blues in Game I in Brisbane on Wednesday but informed coach Laurie Daley that he will be unavailable for the other two games of the series as he turns his attention to the Dragons’ faltering season.
‘‘Laurie was very good about it. He wished me all the best and said if it was going to interfere with the result next Monday don’t come back [to camp],’’ McGregor said.
‘‘I think that’s important that, until they find a replacement for Origin II, that the person running the messages know which messages to run. I’ll fly up at midday tomorrow [Wednesday] and when we get that job done I’ll fly home and switch on again for here.’’
McGregor said he gave no consideration to remaining with the Blues after agreeing to assume the head-coaching role at Dragons.
‘‘I’ve already spoken to Laurie about that and he’s quite comfortable to put someone else in that position,’’ he said.
‘‘To be honest Laurie’s doing most of the coaching with Matt Parish, his offisider, there.
‘‘He’s got a very good grasp of what he needs now he’s been in that role for 12 months and he’s doing an outstanding job.’’
Though the decision to return to Wollongong to take the Dragons reins was a no-brainer, McGregor said it was tough to leave origin camp as the Blues look to end Queensland’s dominance.
‘‘The buildup for the first four days in Origin camp is everyone’s pretty well flat out.
‘‘You seem to start enjoying it from Sunday on and I got dragged out of camp on Sunday,’’ McGregor said.
‘‘The last two days would’ve been more pleasurable and relaxing there [Origin camp] but there’s a job to do and I need to be here.’’