St George Illawarra captain Ben Creagh said the Dragons players must shoulder responsibility for Steve Price's demise, as they try to bounce back from a horror month against South Sydney on Monday.
Creagh had yet to speak with Price after the board's decision to terminate his contract on Monday and said the playing group were surprised by the decision.
"It was a pretty tough day finding out your coach is being let go midway through the season," Creagh said.
"It's not a good feeling for anyone in the club. It's not something as a playing group you want to happen.
"It's upsetting for Pricey because a lot of us are pretty close to him and have been through a lot with him and known him for a long time.
"We know how much hard work he puts into his job and how passionate he is abut coaching so we know how tough he'd be doing it," he said.
The Dragons conceded 108 points to 20 in their past three games and Creagh admitted the playing group felt a degree of responsibility for Price's sacking.
"Ultimately it comes back to the players. Our performances and the results of our performances determine the fate of a coach so we do have to take some responsibility," Creagh said.
"Yeah coaches have an influence over a team with game plans and whatnot but there's 17 players out there on the field every week playing for one another and playing for their club and their fans."
Creagh admitted his side has been low on confidence after the horror month that ultimately coast Price his job but hopes a fresh start under interim coach Paul McGregor can rejuvenate the Dragons' finals hopes.
"He [McGregor] brings a lot of respect," Creagh continued. "He brings a lot of knowledge too and played a lot of games for the Dragons and at the highest level.
"He's someone I've looked up to and a lot of young guys in this team have looked up to for a long time as well. That's a big thing as a coach.
"He's done everything in the game and he's a very smart coach so I really do hope we start performing under him. There's no excuse why we shouldn't."
McGregor named a 19-man squad on Tuesday for his first game in charge against the Rabbitohs that sees Creagh shift to the front row, Leeson Ah Mau moves into the back row alongside Joel Thompson.