McGregor on Dragons salvage mission

RUGBY LEAGUE

Reluctant caretaker coach Paul McGregor is more concerned with saving the Dragons' faltering season than proving himself as an NRL coach in the wake of Steve Price's sacking.

New Dragons coach Paul McGregor at his first training session in charge. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

New Dragons coach Paul McGregor at his first training session in charge. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

McGregor oversaw his first training session as head coach on Tuesday after his recall from NSW Origin camp and told of the board's decision to end Price's 2½-year tenure on Sunday night.

A clearly disappointed McGregor said he reluctantly took the role after he spoke with Price and decided it was in the club's best interests that he step into the job.

"The circumstances are that if I didn't do it someone else would and that's the only reason I'm doing it," McGregor said.

"It's an easier transition for the players than someone from the outside coming in.

"The club's very close to me. I played a lot of years of football here and the players are the most important thing at the moment and they need less change.

"They need some simple answers and hard work and that's what we're going to do."

McGregor said no-one wore the burden of the Dragons' poor form more heavily than Price as the Dragons slumped to 13th on the NRL ladder on the back of several poor performances.

"When you're not winning it hurts everyone and the bloke who hurts the most is the guy whose in control. Steve was hurting like everyone else because he cares for this football club like we all do," McGregor said.

"We want to see it successful and that's why I'm standing here right now because I didn't want to see someone come in and undo the work that's been done."

Despite constant speculation about Price's future, McGregor said he and the players were shocked when told of the decision.

They must now regroup ahead of their Monday match with a formidable South Sydney outfit that mauled them 26-6 in round five.

"The business saw a need for change and now the players need to change," McGregor said.

"There's no easy way out of this. The circumstances aren't great but there's games of footy to be played and the blokes and everyone in the association needs to work hard to get that done.

"It starts every time you go on the paddock and every time you wear a jumper. You need to be proud to wear it and you've got to really work hard for each other and that's what we've got to do."

He dismissed questions about seeking the role on a permanent basis.

"That's a question for later on. I'm looking at this as week to week. I've got a game with South Sydney this week. I couldn't give two hoots about next year."

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