State of Origin star Trent Merrin has called for the Dragons to sign caretaker coach Paul McGregor to a long-term contract.

St George Illawarra star Trent Merrin says the joint venture should move swiftly to secure the signature of caretaker coach Paul McGregor long-term given the resuscitation effort he’s performed since Steve Price’s sacking.

The Dragons have won five from eight matches under McGregor since Price was shown the door in late May.

St George Illawarra’s impressive 28-12 win over Wests Tigers on Sunday lifted them to 22 points, equal with seventh placed North Queensland but with an inferior for-and-against.

NSW forward Merrin, who returned from a shoulder injury in the win over the Tigers, has called for McGregor to be rewarded with a new contract.

McGregor publicly declared he wanted the job after last week’s loss to competition leaders Manly.

“He deserves the job, he has turned this team around and all the boys believe and trust in him,” Merrin said.

“He has played the game at the top level and he demands perfection which is what you need – especially the experienced players and the representative players.

“He doesn’t care who you are, he will pull you in if you are not doing your job and tell you how it is.

“That is what a great coach does. I can see that potential in him and I would love to see him stay as coach.”

Dragons halfback Benji Marshall said McGregor had been the key driver in turning the club’s fortunes around.

“The big thing is it’s his club and he’s passionate about that,” Marshall said.

“He demands perfection at training which I think a lot of these guys haven’t had for a long time.

“(If there are) dropped balls we’re doing push ups now. He just punishes us for errors at training and it’s starting to show in games.”