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Dragons confirm McGregor's position under review

With St George Illawarra’s finals chances slipping away, the future of coach Paul McGregor will again be discussed at a meeting of the Dragons board next week.

St George Illawarra CEO Ryan Webb confirmed McGregor’s position was on the agenda for the board’s regular monthly meeting next Tuesday.

After holding an emergency meeting in the wake of the round four loss to Canterbury to consider McGregor’s fate, the board unanimously backed him to continue in the role and put measures in place aimed at helping to improve the team’s performance.

The Dragons won four of their next six matches and suffered narrow losses to last year’s grand finalists Sydney Roosters and Canberra.

However, they have lost their past three matches to Cronulla, South Sydney and the Roosters to now sit six points behind the eighth-placed Sharks with seven rounds remaining before the finals.

Match Highlights: Dragons v Roosters

McGregor is contracted until the end of next season but Webb said he was aware that his position would be reviewed once the Dragons fell from finals contention.

“It is definitely a discussion that needs to be had and everyone has been pretty open about that at our end,” Webb said.

“We had that meeting after round four and put in some areas of support. The team showed some good form for a few weeks but we still fell short of finals so you can’t just sit there, you have got to talk about things.”

Dragons coach Paul McGregor.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

Webb was unable to give any indication of whether the board would continue to support McGregor or look to head in a different direction for next season.

He said McGregor was aware that his future would be discussed by the board.

“I will chat to Paul during the week and see what he is thinking and where he is at,” Webb said.

“It is a normal board meeting on Tuesday and as far as we are concerned Paul is contracted until the end of next year but it is something we will talk about.”

If McGregor’s services were terminated after this weekend’s match against Parramatta, it is expected that assistant coach Dean Young would take charge for the remainder of the season.

Fellow assistant Shane Flanagan is precluded from taking on a head coaching position until 2022 under the terms of a suspension imposed by the NRL for breaching a previous coaching ban while at Cronulla.

Meanwhile, rookie five-eighth Tristan Sailor may start in the No.6 jersey against the Eels following the suspension of lock Jackson Ford on a tripping charge.

Sailor played 50 minutes from the interchange bench in last Thursday night’s 32-24 loss to the Roosters as his only other previous appearance since the season resumed on May 28 was a brief stint against the Rabbitohs and the Dragons coaching staff wanted to preserve his energy.

Ford placed on report for trip on Keary

However, after gaining some valuable match fitness he is likely to play the full game in a move that would allow Ben Hunt to start at hooker and Cameron McInnes to play lock in place of Ford.

The Dragons will again be without Australian prop Paul Vaughan due to a COVID-19 breach on the eve of the Roosters clash which required him to undergo a 14-day isolation period.

New recruit Kaide Ellis replaced Vaughan but the former Penrith prop’s involvement was limited as he hadn’t played since March.​