THERE'S been plenty of chat about the Dragons new selection committee, but back-rower Tariq Sims says the players have no doubt coach Paul McGregor remains the man in charge.
Sims made his return from wrist surgery in his side's win over Manly last week, his first appearance since his side's embarrassing 22-2 defeat to the Bulldogs in round four.
The loss saw a change in approach, to both selections and attacking strategy, with the likes of Matt Dufty and new starting dummy-half Ben Hunt the major beneficiaries.
Sims said the entire coaching staff deserves a wrap for making adjustments on the run, but said McGregor remains the ultimate authority.
"I know they do have a process they go through but Mary's still the big dog and he has the last say," Sims said.
"The coaches all have their input, I know he's very open to everyone's opinions and options and he weighs them all up but, at the end of the day, it's Mary's job to pick the the team because he's always the first one to get whacked after a loss.
"As a player being injured to sit back and watch the coaching staff go about their craft and how absorbed they are in their job was really inspiring for me. Dean Young has really grown as a coach the last couple of weeks, he's very influential along with Shane Flanagan and Mary.
"Shep [James Shepherd], our attack coach, has been really outstanding. To see how much work they've put into the video sessions, the review sessions to the individual player reviews and then apply it to our sessions on the field... it's been next to extraordinary."
They've gone 3-2 since implementing the changes but the Dragons really found another gear last week, albeit against a depleted Manly outfit, running in six tries to one in a 34-4 win. Sims said he was most pleased about the latter half of that ledger.
"The final score probably didn't do it justice," Sims said.
"It was quite tight for a long period of that game and it wasn't until the last 10 minutes that we jagged those extra tries. The way we attacked them with our defence, we forced them to make a couple of errors we ended up turning into points.
"When we made errors we defended them really well and that was the most pleasing thing, to see how much work and emphasis the coaches have put into our defence, to turn that into points was the pleasing part.
"Even though we had two losses [leading in], we learned from that and built really well leading into the Manly game and it was just a by-product of what we've been building to."
What the Bulldogs will toss up in Wollongong on Saturday in a week coach Dean Pay was sacked is anyone's guess, but Sims says it makes them dangerous.
"Unfortunately [sackings] happen once a year or every two years, that's the beauty and the beast," Sims said.
"They're going to be fired up to represent their club because they're doing it tough at the moment, there's no way around it, and a desperate team's always a dangerous team."