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Dragons coach Paul McGregor.

Dragons coach Paul McGregor has been spared the axe from the club's board as his side loses NSW Origin forward Tariq Sims for at least the next month with a cracked wrist.

St George Illawarra directors brought forward next week's scheduled board meeting to Tuesday morning to evaluate the remaining 18 months of McGregor's contract following Monday's listless 22-2 loss to the Bulldogs.

The Red V hierarchy has resolved to back McGregor in turning the club around, having faced a $1 million payout if they had terminated his tenure.

"Although the board acknowledges the club's performances so far throughout 2020 have been unacceptable; we will continue to support Paul, his staff and the team through these tough times," chairman Andrew Gordon said.

"We are committed to Paul as coach of the St George Illawarra Dragons and look forward to seeing him right the wrongs of the opening month of the current campaign.

Soward: Dragons players must wear share of responsibility

"We are a club that stands by our people when under pressure. This is a time for loyalty, strength and commitment from the players, coach, board and staff to improve."

Having slumped to their fourth straight loss and outright last on the NRL ladder, the Dragons now turn their attention to Sunday's local derby with Cronulla.

They will be without Sims for the next 4-6 weeks after the bruising back-rower cracked his radius against the Bulldogs.

He will undergo corrective surgery on Wednesday and be replaced by Tyrell Fuimaono in the second-row against the Sharks.

Euan Aitken also comes into the starting side for Brayden Williame (calf) with Matt Dufty recalled to an otherwise unchanged 17, as expected given the 24-hour turnaround from Monday's defeat to naming the Dragons round five side.

Further changes could come throughout the week once training ramps up, with big name playmakers Ben Hunt and Corey Norman under increasing pressure after already being shuffled to accommodate rookie No.7 Adam Clune.

McGregor ran through video reviews of the Dragons' loss to Canterbury with his players after lunch on Tuesday, waiting on tenterhooks beforehand as the club directors discussed his future via video link.

McGregor is signed with the Dragons until the end of 2021, having inked a two-year deal in round five last year following a semi-finals run the previous season.

Speaking after the Bulldogs defeat and a week of intense speculation on his career, McGregor was adamant that could still turn the famed Red V around but could understand if Dragons powerbrokers believed otherwise.

Senior players including Tyson Frizell, James Graham and Ben Hunt have backed McGregor's coaching.

Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Dragons


However Frizell's exit to Newcastle next season, Moses Suli's knock back of a lucrative Dragons offer to stay for less at Manly and Jason Saab's recent release request point to on-field struggles effecting recruitment and retention.

Saab and his management are due to meet with Dragons officials again this week and have not ruled out making a second release request as the 199-centimetre winger is chasing a regular first grade spot and fielding offers from rival clubs.

McGregor has coached the Dragons since mid-2014, delivering two finals appearances in six and half seasons that started with a significant rebuild.

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