St George Illawarra Dragons coach Paul McGregor expresses frustration with selection panel and recruitment after parting ways with club
He also said he was not given any certainty over his future when he spoke with Webb earlier this week, prompting the parties to agree to a severance package before next Tuesday night’s planned board meeting.
“I wasn’t comfortable with it,” McGregor said of the selection process on Thursday. “I do think the conversation with the selection panel is outstanding. It’s powerful.
“But I think the coach should get the final say on who is getting selected in the team. You have a coaching team and you need to lean on them. There should be hard conversation around that, but the coach selects the team.
“It’s hard when you’re owning your result, but not getting the team you want.
“And then the other thing was around the question of, ‘are we replacing anyone in our squad?’. We had lost players and hadn’t signed them. I wanted to know where I was going with recruitment and retention going forward.”
McGregor will coach the team for one last time against premiership heavyweights the Eels at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night. Young will then take over for the final six weeks of the season.
McGregor’s tenure will end with just two finals appearances having taken over from Steve Price mid-way through 2014 and the club narrowly fighting off the wooden spoon last year.
Asked whether people could consider McGregor’s tenure a successful one, Webb said: “I think they should.
“It depends on how you define success. If you’ve got someone who is emotionally connected to the club, who just puts in ridiculous hours with his work ethic and his passion for the place and you want someone leading your club, I think he ticks all those boxes.
“On field is hard to judge because he’s had a pretty extraordinary period, particularly the last 18 months. I’m not sure about the wider public’s perception, but mine would be in the last four months he’s done a good a job as he could possibly do.
“I want him to feel connected and walk into club functions and be around the game, shake hands and feel welcome.”
McGregor said Young would be an ideal replacement given he has “bled for the club” and is a “very smart coach”.
But his immediate focus would be family with a visit to hospital planned first thing on Saturday morning. He has been prevented from being bedside due to the NRL’s strict biosecurity protocols.
“Certainly it’s been tough,” McGregor said. “My father is seriously ill. He’s been in hospital for quite some time, so I need to go and see him. It’s been in the back of my mind. It’s part of it, it’s not the only thing.”
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Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.