Anthony Minichiello expects the form of St George Illawarra to improve over the next few weeks as the direction of new coach Paul McGregor takes hold.

Soward throws support behind Mary, Barrett

Former Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward says that if the two weeks he spent working under Paul McGregor last year are anything to go by, then St George Illawarra's future is in good hands. 

McGregor officially took over the reins at the Dragons on a temporary basis on Tuesday after the club decided to part ways with coach Steve Price on Monday. 

The Illawarra Steelers legend will name a team for Monday night's clash with South Sydney before flying out to Brisbane where he will complete his assistant coaching role alongside NSW coach Laurie Daley for Wednesday night's series-opener against Queensland.

Soward played two games for McGregor at the Illawarra Cutters around this time last season after a public falling out with Price that eventually led to his exit from the club. 

The premiership-winning No. 6 then finished the year in England with the London Broncos but not before McGregor helped him renew his love for the game. 

"I worked under Mary last year for two weeks obviously before I went to England," Soward said. 

"He's very smart, good people skills, and the two weeks I had there, he made what was a tough situation for myself really enjoyable. I couldn't thank him enough for that. I actually enjoyed working with Mary and I'm sure he'll be excited now to take over the reins."

Soward also threw his support behind another Dragons legend in Trent Barrett, who could also be a candidate given his strong links to the club. 

Barrett spent 15 seasons in Wollongong and is now head coach of Penrith's Holden Cup team. He's held the clipboard for the Country Origin team for the past three years and was also appointed coach of the Italian national team just last month. 

"He's going to be a first grade coach. It's just a matter of time," Soward said. "Trent's got a massive passion for the game. He respects my opinion just as much as I respect his, and that's important when you're working with someone who's not going to make me play like Trent Barrett. 

"He's letting me play how I want to play and maybe just tip me up on some things to look at. To have him on the staff – the Penrith staff that Ivan and Gus and Phil Moss have constructed out here is really strong. We've got certain people for certain areas and they're all encouraging in what they do."