Dragons interim coach Paul McGregor has declared he wants the top job at the NRL joint venture long term.
Caretaker coach Paul McGregor says he wants to coach St George Illawarra full-time next season after Wayne Bennett turned his back on the joint venture to reunite with Brisbane.
McGregor has revitalised the Dragons as a finals force since taking over from the sacked Steve Price in late May leading them to four wins in seven matches.
And now that Bennett is no chance of returning to the club he coached to premiership success in 2010, McGregor has said for the first time he wants the top job at the Dragons.
“I really enjoy coaching this group and I would like to continue coaching this group,” McGregor said.
“I think the association needs to interview the best people for the job and if they see fit that I am the best person for the job then they’ll interview me in time.
“At the moment they’re doing their rounds and obviously Wayne was part of that.
“All I can do is look after the group that I’m in control of right now and that’s this football team and continue to do that.”
McGregor agreed Bennett’s decision to sign a three-year $4 million contract with the Broncos improved his chances of landing the head coach slot at the Dragons.
“You would think so,” he said.
“Nothing much changes for me. I will turn up to work tomorrow and go again.
“Bennett has made up his mind. I don’t know too much. My job is interim coach, working these guys pretty hard.
“The good thing is they are playing for each other.
“When you have a group wanting to sweat and blood for each other it’s pleasing. It’s great to see that reaction.”
The Dragons 21-12 loss to NRL competition leaders Manly on Monday left them needing to win at least four of their last seven games to make the playoffs according to McGregor.
Dragons skipper Ben Creagh backed the former Dragons centre three-quarter to stay long-term.
“He is doing a great job, he has turned our season around,” he said.
“The players really respect him.”