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Dragons coach Paul McGregor.

Paul McGregor was reviewing Monday's loss to Canterbury and considering team selections with his coaching staff on Tuesday morning in the knowledge that the Dragons board could sack him before the side was announced.

It's an image that underlines how St George Illawarra have now hit absolute rock bottom after losing all four matches this season and having won just two of their past 14 games.

Yet the directors weren't convinced that an immediate change of coach would solve the team's woes and preferred to consider ways to help enable McGregor to serve out the remaining 17 months of his contract.

The Dragons board are scheduled to meet next week and it is expected that at some stage before then McGregor will be given an opportunity to discuss plans for turning around the fortunes of the Red V.

However, it is believed that no deadline has been set or a certain number of wins targeted to guarantee McGregor his job.

It is understood that Tuesday's snap board meeting was the first time directors had discussed the possibility of someone else taking over the coaching reins so it not surprising they decided against making any knee-jerk decision.

Dragons drama: How the Red V can get out of crisis

Now the issue has been raised, the board and CEO Ryan Webb may begin considering alternatives if necessary but their immediate focus is more likely to be on providing support for McGregor.

Unlike some other instances where a club has parted ways with a coach mid-season, there is no indication of players having fallen out with McGregor.

If anything, the likes of Ben Hunt, Cameron McInnes, James Graham, Tariq Sims, Tyson Frizell and Paul Vaughan appear to be trying too hard and playing like a place in the finals is at stake each time they take the field.

The look on their faces in the dressing room after Monday's 22-2 defeat showed how much they were hurting and the players knew that their performance would only intensify speculation about McGregor's future.

The statement issued by St George Illawarra chairman Andrew Gordon about the club's commitment to McGregor was aimed at easing the pressure on the coach and players by giving him time to get on with the job. 

Replacing a coach four rounds into the season is a much more difficult decision than doing so four rounds from the end.

From a financial point of view there is never a good time to sack a coach but all clubs have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis and the Dragons would be reluctant to pay out McGregor for the remaining 17 months of his contract.

Then there is the task of choosing a replacement.

McGregor's assistant Dean Young has been mooted as an interim coach but 14 rounds would be a long time to ask him to take on a caretaker role.

And what if Young didn't have success either? Is that fair on him at the start of his coaching career?

Does the club then appoint a third coach within six months?

McGregor: The desire is still there

Besides Anthony Griffin and Nathan Brown, most other likely candidates are currently involved with other clubs so may not be available to start until next season.

Among the names mentioned are Sydney Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon, his Melbourne counterpart Jason Ryles, Penrith's Trent Barrett and South Sydney mentor Wayne Bennett – all of whom have links to the Dragons.

The Dragons are renowned for their loyalty to those who have served the club and Gordon reiterated that in his statement after the board meeting.

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

After receiving confirmation he would remain in charge, McGregor named a team for Sunday's clash with Cronulla at Campbelltown Stadium but it is unlikely to be the one that runs out at kick-off.

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