You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Dragons players celebrate a try.

St George Illawarra players know better than most how external pressures surrounding a coach's future can wreak havoc on team morale.

It was only five weeks ago the Dragons were left reeling after back-to-back losses to the Bulldogs and Warriors, both of whom have since sacked their coaches in the latest chapter of a never-ending coach merry-go-round.

The Dragons hit rock bottom after the 22-2 defeat to the Belmore outfit, but unlike their counterparts have been able to respond with gritty performances and a 3-2 record.

Canterbury just never kicked on from their only win of the year with McGregor inadvertently coming out on top over Dean Pay leading into their rematch at WIN Stadium.

"It's just such a high results-driven game, if you're not performing across the board whether you're a player or a coach there's pressure there," Dragons forward Paul Vaughan said on Tuesday.

Match Highlights: Dragons v Sea Eagles

"It's a high-pressure sport, everyone demands results and sometimes if that doesn't happen the worst thing happens.

"It's the same with players as a coach. A lot of pressure, but that's also what you have to test yourself against week-in-week-out.

"It's not a great thing for the Bulldogs sure, but I'm sure they'll find a great coach."

Dragons save their best till last

McGregor's position was boosted when the club's board publicly backed him last month, leaving players with a level of clarity around their coach's future.

They've kicked on with their performances, too, winning three of their past five – the losses to last year's grand finalists the Roosters and Raiders also providing hope they can compete with the top sides when they're willing.

The same never applied for Pay, who publicly stated he wanted the Bulldogs board to make a decision so players could have clarity, and the club's retention and recruitment could continue, as late as last week.

On Saturday at 3pm, the sides will meet again in far different circumstances.

For the Bulldogs, their season has officially reached rock bottom – the Dragons looking to add further salt into the wounds with a top eight spot in sight.

"I think it just came down to us as a squad to take ownership of the performances we were throwing out there," Vaughan said.

"The first couple of weeks of the season it was pretty rough there [but] we've got a good chance now to put a few games together and make a charge because the competition is so tight.

"We're not out of it, hopefully we can get a roll-on. We've got the spine settled, I think the boys are playing well there, and with Cam [McInnes] moving to 13 and Benny [Hunt] to 9 the continuity there is great."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners