Origin's still part of McGregor's thinking

Caretaker coach Paul McGregor is keen to return to the Blues camp for Origin II. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Caretaker coach Paul McGregor is keen to return to the Blues camp for Origin II. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


Paul McGregor is desperate to remain a part of the NSW brains trust for Origin II despite his shock appointment as St George Illawarra coach.

The NSW assistant coach said his head was "still spinning" after experiencing an epic Origin victory just days after he was asked to fill the void for friend and sacked Dragons mentor Steve Price in a caretaker capacity.

McGregor said he was unable to commit to the Blues full time because of his increased commitment to the Red V but was hopeful of still being involved in the second interstate match.

"I'd love to," McGregor said.

"It's going to be very hard, I can't be away from the football team I coach every week.

"I'll talk to Laurie, game day and a couple of days if I can fit it in with training and still be a part of it.

"Running the messages on game night, I'd love to.

"It's up to Laurie whether he wants another coach to come in and spend the whole week there.

"It's in Sydney in game II, which makes a bit of a difference. I can come and go and be there on the close out, running the messages.

"We'll regroup when the emotion dies down, have a chat and see how we go."

McGregor, a former NSW player himself, said he was part of "something special" on Wednesday night.

"I was lucky enough to be on some very good support teams through the '90s and that effort through the last 25 minutes was something I was very lucky to be associated with," he said.

"Blokes were turning up to be there. With the lack of field position we had at that time, it was a special moment."

McGregor said he was emotionally drained but would find the energy to prepare the Dragons for their clash against South Sydney on Monday.

"It's been a busy three days, to be honest. My head's a bit choc full at the moment, it's still spinning around," he said.

"There's a lot of people hurt in the whole thing, to be honest, and the only thing I've got is a lack of sleep. That's a lot easier than what a few people are going through.

"It's just day-to-day routine that I've already been doing with Steve, it's just a shame we're not doing it together.

"My hours won't change, I worked long hours with Steve. It's probably less sleep now because of the stress, that's all.

"I've played for the club, I've sweated and bled for the club and now I've basically got to get those blokes to put in in that jumper."

McGregor predicted the Dragons would search for a high-profile coach and that he was only a stop-gap measure.

"My daughter said to me 'You told me you never wanted to be a first-grade coach, dad'. That's the truth, I never had any ambitions to," he said.

"I love being involved with rugby league, I love being involved with the club and I've taken this role out of necessity for the group.

"I look at it week to week. At the moment, I'm the caretaker coach and I think they're looking for an experienced coach anyway.

"I'll do what I need to do and we'll assess it in a bit."


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