AAP Rugby

McGregor sees Dragons shining ahead

By AAP Newswire

Paul McGregor insists good times aren't far away for St George Illawarra as he doubled down on his backing of Dean Young to lead the Dragons.

McGregor signed off on his last game as Saints coach as a winner, upsetting Parramatta 14-12 to end his 25 years with the NRL club on a high.

In his six years at the helm the Dragons made the finals twice, with a semi-finals finish in 2018 their best result.

Since then he has been hurt by the mid-contract loss of Gareth Widdop to England, as well as Jack de Belin being stood down indefinitely.

In truth, it robbed the Dragons of their best playmaker and best forward in one disastrous off-season.

Reaching this year's finals looks unlikely, but McGregor insisted the foundation was there for Young who is among the favourites to take over full time.

"There are a lot of good things in the organisation," he said.

"I think they have a good leader in Dean. He is a good coach and a good person. He bleeds red and white.

"Once we get healthy and get a full roster back they are going to be very good football team.

"Are there things to do there? Of course there is. But they have the right people around them."

Friday night's win was one of the Dragons' most complete performances of the year, joining their big win over Manly in their best outings.

McGregor claimed it showed this was not a team that was split among the playing group, and nor was it one where he'd lost the support of his players.

But he also insisted it didn't leave him frustrated, given the Dragons have not been completely outplayed either in recent weeks.

"People can ask why did they play so well tonight and they haven't (for the rest of the year)," McGregor said.

"But if you look at our games, we've had bad moments not bad games.

"Tonight we just found a bit more at different times and just turned the opposition way more often. And we came up with a result.

"The three games we have played in the past three weeks we have been in the position to win."

McGregor plans to spend time away from the game briefly, including more time with his ill father in hospital who he hasn't seen for three months due to the NRL's strict biosecurity rules.

But he insists he still has plenty to offer as an NRL coach somewhere.

"I love the game and want to be around the game for as long as I can.

"I have a lot to give. Good passion and good enthusiam.

"I think anyone you speak to knows I have good work ethic. I start early and finish late. I am there to serve people.

"I don't want it to be the end of my career."