NRL Head of Football Graham Annesley has revealed the conversations between the Bunker and onfield officials that led to the Cronulla Sharks’ match-winning try being approved against the St George-Illawarra Dragons.
Paul McGregor will be given the chance to finish the job he began at St George Illawarra after being re-signed as NRL coach until the end of 2021.
In the midst of a premiership window, the Dragons on Thursday confirmed they were staying solid with McGregor with a two-year contract renewal.
“To have a good focus and purpose for the next two seasons is really comforting,” McGregor said.
“The enjoyment I get out of coaching this proud club is something I look forward to every day.
“There is still a real appreciation of what 2019 is to bring too. My players are always my first priority and their needs come before anything else.”
McGregor’s retention comes after early pressure following a drama-plagued opening two rounds. However the Saints have hit form in recent weeks, winning their last three games to re-enter the NRL’s top eight.
The popular McGregor will be confident he has the squad to strike during his next contract window, given the impending departure of Gareth Widdop has been covered by the arrival of Corey Norman.
Since taking over from Steve Price in mid-2014, McGregor has built his roster to the point where he considers it his own.
After they led the competition for the majority of 2018, the Dragons faded to finish seventh before being knocked out in the second week of the finals.
Meticulous in his approach, the Dragons coach lowered contact workloads at training this season in a bid to rectify the late-season issue.
With the bulk of his team signed until the end of next year, McGregor will now have at least two shots at the NRL premiership with his current personnel.
“Paul is a values-driven, team-first individual who is at the forefront of personal development for both he and his players,” Dragons chief executive Brian Johnston said.
“A testament of this is the number of Dragons who have achieved higher representative honours and those to have successfully debuted under Paul’s tutelage, as well as the club’s improved results in recent seasons.”
His signature will also see him become the longest-serving coach in the Dragons’ history, pre or post-merger.
McGregor has coached the Dragons in 118 games for 60 wins and should surpass Nathan Brown’s mark of 151 matches in charge of the joint-venture by the end of next year.
Roy Masters also coached the Red V for 162 games prior to the club’s merger with Illawarra – another figure McGregor should go beyond.