James Graham has backed the decision to retain Paul McGregor.
James Graham has backed the decision to retain Paul McGregor.

'Line in the sand moment for Dragons'

It may be considered a stay of execution. But James Graham says the decision to stick with coach Paul McGregor is the "strong statement" St George Illawarra need as they try to end their NRL slump.

The Dragons opted not to axe McGregor at an emergency board meeting on Tuesday, avoiding a payout of around $1 million that would have placed great financial strain on the club.

But it is believed McGregor will be given four more games to prove his worth with another board meeting reportedly set to discuss his future again in a month.

 

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However, Graham was hopeful the speculation over McGregor's future was over, saying the board's decision on Tuesday sent the message that they were "all in this together" as they tried to rectify their horror start.

"I believe in the coach (and) I think it is a strong statement from the board," Graham told Fox League's NRL 360.

"It shows that we are all in this together. We are going to fix it together, we will find solutions together." But Graham admitted finding form was easier said than done after they slumped to a 0-4 record - their worst start since 2005.

"I think it is a psychological thing. I think it is down to a lack of confidence, we are really lacking in belief," he said.

"The big question is how do you work on that? Normally it starts at training, but if you were to witness our training sessions you'd think we were humming. "It's just not transferring to the game." When pressed, Graham thought the root of the Dragons' problems was that they were trying too hard.

"Potentially that is what it is. We might be overthinking it. But this isn't the first club where this has happened, where we are in a confidence rut," he said.

 

Dragons coach Paul McGregor has four weeks to save his job.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor has four weeks to save his job.

"The solution is difficult but there will be no stone left unturned, I can tell you that." After McGregor received a reprieve from the board, Graham said it was time for rabid Dragons fans to stop the social media hate and back their embattled side.

"It is a strong statement from the board and I think the fans should look at that," he said.

"We need you now more than ever. These colours shouldn't run.

"In the tough times we need that positivity (from fans), and back us in."

McGregor only made a handful of changes for Sunday's clash with Cronulla, with back-rower Tyrell Fuimaono in for surprise axing Tariq Sims, Euan Aitken in the centres for Brayden Wiliame (calf) and Matt Dufty promoted to the interchange.

Originally published as Graham says McGregor stay of execution is a line in the sand moment for Dragons


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