Paul McGregor is unconcerned by the silence of Dragons hierarchy – publicly and privately – on his future as he turns to a minimum-wage rookie to unlock a roster dripping with representative stars.
While still just three games into a two-year extension signed early last year, McGregor is under increasing pressure with an 0-3 record going into Monday's clash with fellow NRL stragglers Canterbury.
If the team suffers losses to the Bulldogs and Cronulla leading into a scheduled June 16 board meeting, McGregor's tenure will well and truly go under the microscope.
Having the "full support of the board" is quite often a coach's last rite but new Dragons CEO Ryan Webb, chairman Andrew Gordon and board members have been conspicuous in their silence during a period of intense pressure on the club.
McGregor said on Friday that St George Illawarra powerbrokers have not broached his future with him, insisting his energies are solely focused on Monday's critical Bulldogs showdown.
Bulldogs v Dragons - Round 4
"I haven't heard anything. There's been no internal conversation around anything about myself," McGregor said.
"Obviously I need to get results. I get that. It's a high-performance sport and if you're not winning games you're under scrutiny.
"My focus is on getting a result this weekend and winning.
"You hear the noise, [but] I don't listen to it or read into it too much. I've got caring friends and family who remind me of it. I understand what I can control and can't and what I can [control] is inside and preparing the players best."
Graham backs McGregor to fix the Dragons
Following an uninspiring loss to the Warriors, he has shuffled marquee halves Ben Hunt and Corey Norman to accommodate debutant Adam Clune at the scrumbase.
McGregor described the 25-year-old as a "genuine No.7" with a strong short kicking game which would help guide the Dragons around the paddock.
Hunt and Norman earn tenfold what the late blooming Clune takes home on the NRL's minimum wage, and headline a host of representative players that have under-performed in recent times.
In 2018 McGregor hailed his Red V squad as "a roster that I’m totally comfortable with" after three years of rebuilding, only for results to nosedive dramatically over the past 18 months.
McGregor maintained his faith in the squad and his ability to get the best out of the players, but conceded his playmaking upheaval pointed to Hunt and Norman, among others, failing to deliver on their lucrative wages.
"I'm still looking for the right combination within the spine," McGregor said.
"Bringing Issac [Luke] in off the interchange will give us that injection of speed around the dummy-half position. Cam [McInnes] had to do a lot of work last week and we weren't as effective as I would've liked last week there.
"Benny Hunt, Corey Norman are our better players, so for us to successful our better players need to play well.
"They understand that. That's why they're selected in the team this week, but it's a 17-man game, it's not just two players or three players.
"I'm happy with the men I've got there. Obviously Jack [de Belin] not being involved in that balance of our middle forwards is a bit different to if he was involved.
"I'm comfortable with the players I have here. I'm got confidence in them, I've got belief in them. It's just about going out and getting the result. There's no shifting the pressure or blame onto anyone else."