Former St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor will return to NRL coaching in a consultancy role with the Parramatta Eels.
McGregor had seven seasons in charge at the Dragons, winning 70 of 151 games, but was unable to deliver finals success, before Anthony Griffin took over this season.
On Friday, the Eels confirmed that McGregor and former NRL and NSW hooker Michael Ennis will be taking on roles at the club, in a bid to break Parramatta's title drought.
"Michael and Paul had long and successful careers as players, Paul spent seven years as head coach of St George Illawarra and Michael has most recently spent time with Canberra as part of their coaching staff," a statement said.
"Both men bring a wealth of football knowledge and experience, and will no doubt be valuable additions to our team."
McGregor has been a strength and conditioning coach with the Dragons under Nathan Brown and then an assistant to Steve Price, before taking on the top job. He's also been on the coaching staff with the NSW State of Origin team.
It comes as the Eels moved to quell the media attention which has grown over the last week since the NRL's November 1 deadline passed.
Captain Clint Gutherson, hooker Reed Mahoney, prop Junior Paulo and the backrow trio of Isaiah Papalii, Marata Niukore and Ryan Matterson are all free to speak to rival clubs this off-season.
With less than 12 months left on their respective contracts and increased speculation every day, Parramatta came out fighting.
"The media has a job to do in reporting player movements which we respect as we understand the public interest in our players," the Eels said.
"Over the last six months, we have regularly engaged with all our players and their managers in a private and productive manner, balancing the club's intent to ensure players are paid fairly and their value is appropriately recognised, whilst ensuring we are assembling our strongest possible roster year on year.
"Our approach is not to engage publicly in speculation regarding player negotiations.
"It is disrespectful to the players involved, is unhelpful in building a team that is set up for success, and most importantly, goes against how we aim to operate as a club."
The Eels' decision to leave six of their most high-profile players could prove costly with the NRL's salary cap likely to mean they are outbid by rival clubs.
Paulo is a NSW Origin prop who will command big offers, while Mahoney is on the hit list of the NRL's 17th team, the Dolphins.
Papalii has reportedly turned down the club's initial offer and will opt to test the market as Niukore continues to be linked with a move to the Warriors and Dragons.
It is the contract of captain Gutherson, though, which is the most delicate given how protracted his last negotiations were in 2019.
The fullback re-signed with the club but each and every turn of the talks were leaked to the media.
The Eels concluded by saying that they were optimistic that talks would reach a positive conclusion.
"To date, our discussions with players and their managers have been robust, professional and constructive," the club added. with AAP