Paul McGregor is no quitter, but he’s not afraid of being axed by the St George Illawarra board this week and says he could understand if they do.
The Dragons’ coach was in a pressure cooker before the game but the heat was cranked up again after St George Illawarra’s 22-2 loss on Monday to lowly Canterbury.
With just two wins from their past 14 games, time is running out for the coach to save his job as they lumber through their worst season start since 2005.
“I’m not scared … I’m an optimist, but I’m a realist and I know that our team’s not playing well enough at the moment and I’m the coach of that,” he said.
“I’ve got confidence and belief in my team who have lost a fair bit of it in themselves. I accept the blame.
“If they make the decision, I’ll understand. I’ll be disappointed, obviously.
“I understand the situation and the conversation every day, which doesn’t help the team.
“It doesn’t help the players; it doesn’t help the club or the sponsors. If the decision is made, I’ll wear it.”
McGregor’s frank comments came after the Bulldogs knocked the Dragons to last place on the ladder at Bankwest Stadium as the only team not to taste victory in 2020.
A team stacked with representative talent, the Dragons could not form a winning combination despite several changes to the spine which McGregor had hoped would spark improvement.
Corey Norman’s move to fullback did not have the desired result, while it was a tough debut at halfback for Adam Clune who made the team’s only line break.
It’s been two-consecutive weeks without a try for the Dragons, last scoring against the Panthers in round two back in March.
And while he takes responsibility for it, he also believes he’s the man to turn it around.
“The thing is, when I did get signed, it was after we were beaten in the second semi-final and we won four of our first six games,” he said.
“I’m still the same coach – we’re just not getting the results at the moment.
“It’s tough times and we’ve just got to make sure that we perform a lot better than we are now.”
The Dragons have a board meeting on June 16 but might decide on early termination of McGregor’s contract – which runs until the end of next season.
And while the disappointment intensified for the Dragons, the Bulldogs rallied for Kieran Foran’s 200th NRL game. Foran made his return from a shoulder injury which had threatened to end his season.
Although he was physically spent at times during the game, Foran helped to steer the Bulldogs out of a sloppy opening 10 minutes to a near-perfect completion rate.
A try to Adam Elliott through the middle put the Bulldogs on the board in the first half, while Nick Meaney and Reimis Smith polished off the win with second-half four-pointers.
The Dragons will play Cronulla on Sunday at Campbelltown, while the Bulldogs will face the high-flying Sydney Roosters at Bankwest Stadium.