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Why Craig Bellamy should seriously consider coaching the Dragons

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19th July, 2019
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As the Dragons capitulate to another thumping, the calls for head coach Paul McGregor to leave are now almost unanimous.

This, however, leaves Dragons fans shifting approach from should McGregor go to the much more open-ended: who replaces him?

A valid question indeed, as not many coaches are on the market right now and those that are, Anthony Griffin, Geoff Toovey and Jason Taylor to name a few, are not names that inspire any significant hope.

Then there are always the calls for a new contender to be given their chance, with Craig Fitzgibbon and Jason Demetriou’s names coming up.

A choice with more risk but perhaps a higher reward threshold than the established options, this would seem possible as the Dragons have shown a penchant for giving new coaches their big break.

However, neither of those pathways looks especially promising for a fan-base that has long been known to bay for the coaches head rather quickly. Dragons fans expect excellence and sometimes this expectation is justified and sometimes it is misguided.

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At this point in the joint venture’s history, the expectation of results is justified.

As highlighted in last week’s article, the Dragons boast a roster many would kill for, yet on game day they look like a reserve grade squad. They need a good coach to right the wrongs of the past and they need one now.

Enter Craig Bellamy.

As a match it is a perfect fit. Bellamy’s best qualities as a coach are getting his team to play to their potential and transitioning young players into fully-fledged first graders.

These are the two areas the Dragons desperately need help with, especially with a slew of promising youngsters who aren’t quite performing the way the club would like.

But how do the Dragons get Bellamy up to Wollongong? Firstly, it must be pointed out that it is not an unattractive offer for Bellamy. Much of the legwork has already been done in the club’s recruiting, unlike at a similarly coachless team in the Titans, they just need someone to make all the pieces fit.

If Bellamy wants to cement his position as an all-time great coach among the likes of Wayne Bennett and Jack Gibson, he still needs to win a premiership with more than one club, as those two before him have done.

That will no doubt be in his mind as he considers his next professional move and the Dragons could be the perfect route to immortal status.

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The biggest hurdle would seemingly be extrapolating Craig Bellamy from Melbourne, as he just signed a new contract that would carry him through to 2021 and the southern club would no doubt fight ferociously to keep him.

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This is where the Dragons board would need to be ruthlessly pragmatic. If recent reports of the club’s cash windfall are correct, St George leagues club has around $12 million in the bank and their new investors, WIN Corporation, are far from cash strapped.

To lure Bellamy out would eat up quite a lot of this money, as would the budgeting for the tax on spending over $5.93 million on support staff that comes into effect in 2020.

We know that clubs are willing to do this, as the Ivan Cleary situation last year proved, but no doubt snaring Bellamy away from Melbourne would be another level up.

That is where the Dragons have to decide what sort of club they will be for the next five to ten years.

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Are they going to be satisfied with mediocre results with Mary? Hope that a new, but unproven, coach will be their savior? Or, will they dig deep and do everything they can to be winners?

The Dragons need Bellamy and Bellamy could use the Dragons. The Saints are as rich as they have likely ever been and their corporate partners will no doubt be willing to pay for success.

The only question is: will they have the courage to even attempt making an offer at Bellamy? Recent history would suggest not, but maybe the prayers of a few thousand Saints could change the fortune of the struggling club.