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McGregor: Bunker officials 'are fine' but more time needs to be taken

Paul McGregor didn't necessarily want NRL Bunker officials dropped after an error cost the Dragons but he believes the call to sideline video referee Steve Clark shows "strong leadership".

The coach called for accountability after Saturday's 28-24 loss to Cronulla as the Sharks were awarded an early try to Jack Williams despite Dragons fullback Matt Dufty grounding the ball first.

Clark and the senior review official's offsider Ben Galea were immediately stood down from Sunday's Panthers-Titans match.

Galea is on video referee duties for two clashes in round 12 but Clark hasn't been rostered on for any matches.

"That's strong leadership, obviously from [head of football] Graham [Annesley]," McGregor said of the decision to omit Clark.

Why it's needed: Annesley defends Bunker's role

"That's not my department and that's not what I meant around accountability at all. Nothing sinister.

"My conversation was I got asked a question [in the post-match media conference] – I didn't raise it – and it was very fresh. At this stage or any stage, it's not good enough to make the wrong decisions when you've got the correct material to make the right decisions.

"I feel the people there [working in the Bunker] are fine, it's just a matter of just being a little bit more relaxed around the decisions they make and taking the time needed to do it.

"If it takes longer than people feel it needs and the right decision comes out of it, that's the right thing to do."

Bunker officials dropped for Williams try ruling

McGregor is pleased his side can quickly cleanse the sour taste from their mouths when they face traditional rivals South Sydney at Netstrata Jubilee Oval on Thursday night.

But the five-day turnaround has meant halfback Adam Clune and forward Trent Merrin were unable to recover from head knocks.

Ben Hunt will return to halfback for the first time since round four, allowing Cameron McInnes to play his natural role of hooker and young gun Jackson Ford to replace the captain at lock.

"It's a forced change, to be honest. I was comfortable with how the team was really improving," McGregor said of the reshuffle.

"Ben likes to play seven, so he's back to his preferred position. So we're looking for a big game from Ben. He teams up with Corey [Norman], who he's played a lot of football with.

"And Corey's got a milestone 200th [game]. So I expect my halves to lead us around the field well.

"I think whatever Ben does no one's ever going to be happy with. He seems to be a player that people really go after consistently. Ben's a very good footballer, he's experienced, and he'll do a good job for us."

Indigenous stars raise their voice

The injuries have prompted McGregor to hand exciting 22-year-old back Tristan Sailor his first match of the season off the interchange.

"The versatility around Tristan's good," McGregor said.

"Because the [initial] move for Ben to nine was also a lot to do with what middles we didn't have available and the ball-playing middle we need in Cam going to 13 as well.

"So there's an opportunity there if we need a little bit more out of our middle that we can move Benny to nine and Cam to 13 and Tristan straight into that edge [as a half].

"He's done some work there before, a little bit of work the last couple of days there, so he knows the systems."

Truth-telling at forefront of Indigenous Round

St George Illawarra sit 11th, four points shy of Manly in eighth, and McGregor has got an eye on the ladder with nine games left.

"[We need to] play a good brand of footy and have the right behaviours and standards and values through the 80 minutes ... and then the Ws do look after themselves," McGregor said.

"It's getting away from us if we don't start getting the Ws."

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.

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