Paul McGregor’s time as coach of the St George-Illawarra Dragons will come to an end after he was told by the club he wasn’t guaranteed to continue past this season.
McGregor spoke to Dragons CEO Ryan Webb ahead of a board meeting next week and resigned after being told his position wasn’t assured for 2021. Friday night’s clash with Parramatta will be his last game in charge.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Webster originally reported the Dragons board gave McGregor “no alternative but to fall on his sword” on Wednesday night.
A statement released by the club confirmed the coach would depart “amicably”, with Webb claiming McGregor would “forever be a part of the Dragons family.”
“The decision to part ways with Paul was one that nobody took lightly … The club will now turn its focus to establishing the crucial process of appointing a new head coach for the 2021 season and beyond,” he said.
Dean Young will assume the interim coaching role until the conclusion of the season. Webb stated that Craig Young – Dean’s father and a member of the Dragons board – excused himself from decision-making regarding Dean’s appointment and would take a voluntary leave of absence from the board while Dean was coach.
Despite being handed a contract extension early last year, McGregor has failed to get the squad to perform to expectations during his tenure, with high-profile players like Ben Hunt and Corey Norman failing to live up to their pay packets and emerging youngsters not fulfilling their potential – and in some cases just not given much time on the field.
The coach came close to being shown the exit earlier in the year on the back of a winless four-game start to the season, but despite being the last team to pick up a win in 2020 McGregor was spared the axe.
Despite a string of improved performances since, the club’s patience has finally run out on the back of another three-game losing streak. The Dragons currently sit in 12th, three wins out of the top eight, with three of their four wins of the season coming against the Titans, Bulldogs and injury-ravaged Sea Eagles.
McGregor took over at St George back in 2014 and managed just a 46 per cent record during his time in charge, overseeing 69 wins and 81 losses. He’s the fourth head-coaching casualty of the season, following Stephen Kearney at the Warriors, Paul Green at the Cowboys and Dean Pay at the Bulldogs.