Outgoing Dragons star Tyson Frizell says he will not walk out early on his local club and says his "close and honest" relationship with Paul McGregor played no part in him signing with Newcastle.
McGregor's future was discussed on Tuesday with Dragons directors scheduling an emergency video conference following Monday's dour 22-2 loss to Canterbury, and ultimately resolving to keep the coach on amid intense speculation over his future.
Frizell will be gone by season's end after signing a three-year Knights deal in February worth around $2 million, though Newcastle is yet to officially announce the move.
The Dragons matched Newcastle's offer throughout negotiations, but the Test star's exit is a hammer blow to the joint-venture's roster and to some, McGregor's standing with his playing group.
But Frizell dismissed the suggestion a fractured relationship with McGregor played any part in his looming departure.
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And while some at the Dragons are unimpressed with Frizell wanting out of the club, it's understood the under-fire coach harbours no hard feelings over the 28-year-old leaving.
"Mary was the first person I told when I made the decision," Frizell told NRL.com after the Bulldogs loss.
"I've got a very close and honest relationship with Mary to be honest with you.
"None of those suggestions are true at all.
"At the moment I'm looking to perform as well as I can for this team. I want to leave on a high. I've done everything I can for this club and that's the way I want to leave it.
Mary was the first person I told when I made the decisionTyson Frizell on his relationship with Paul McGregor
"I want to do everything I can for the rest of the year. I'm not going anywhere before then. I'm not losing that faith, I'm all in."
With Monday's insipid loss to Canterbury piling the pressure on McGregor and his players, senior Dragons went out of their way to complete their media duties after fulltime.
James Graham joined Fox Sports for a live cross moments after fulltime, as did McGregor soon after.
Meanwhile, Frizell and half Ben Hunt jumped off the team bus to do requested interviews with their dejected teammates waiting for them.
Given the setting, Frizell was understandably not going to go chapter and verse into the reasons for a Newcastle move that is several months away.
NRL.com understands Frizell has been unimpressed with the direction the Dragons have taken in recent seasons but has no issue with McGregor or his coaching.
Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Dragons
In comparison to the rising Knights under rookie coach Adam O'Brien, the change of scenery proved irresistible.
But Newcastle's signing of Andrew McCullough rules out an early play for Frizell on their part, while the Corrimal Cougars junior is also determined to leave the Dragons in a better shape than the dire straits they now occupy.
"There's a lot of disappointment amongst the players, and to be honest I'm pretty speechless," he said.
"At the moment we're not playing with any confidence at all. And it's showing in our performances.
"We need to fix it really quickly or it is going to snowball like it did last year.
"All you can do is go back and work as hard as possible. There's no easy way out of it. It's not a big fix but it's not going to be easy at all.
"We can come out here, talk and give ourselves every excuse. But for us as a playing group we need to go out there and perform. It's got nothing to do with anyone else but the playing group at the moment."