St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor says changes unlikely for Newcastle Knights clash

Return: Josh Dugan will have to get through State of Origin II on Wednesday night to play against the Knights at Kogarah on Sunday. Picture: John Veage

Return: Josh Dugan will have to get through State of Origin II on Wednesday night to play against the Knights at Kogarah on Sunday. Picture: John Veage

Paul McGregor believes a change in personnel is not the answer to St George Illawarra’s struggles as they prepare to host Newcastle on Sunday.

The Dragons have lost five of their last seven games to slip out of the top four as injury and representative selection has started to take its toll.

St George Illawarra will hope to welcome back NSW stars Tyson Frizell and Josh Dugan to the team that was comprehensively beaten by Parramatta on Sunday though star centre Euan Aitken is expected to be another fortnight away from a return from a hamstring injury.

McGregor opted to replace halfback Josh McCrone with 13 minutes remaining against the Eels as the Dragons looked for answers to their problems in attack. At the end of round 11 St George Illawarra had the best attack statistically in the competition but have only scored 28 points in their three games since.

Despite having other options, including shifting Kurt Mann to five-eighth as he did on Sunday, the Dragons coach said he would likely stick solid with his squad for the clash with the Knights at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah.

“When you’re not winning games you’ve got to look at a few things… changing players, is that the answer? Possibly not,” McGregor said.

“But certainly working hard is one [way] to fix the problem. It’s a pretty basic game and [Parramatta] beat us in those areas.

“As a group we’ve gone away from completing high and working hard for one another to just trying to score and put ourselves under pressure.

“It’s a combination of a few things but I think putting ourselves under fatigue certainly doesn’t help. We’ve had a bit of a distraction with players in and out and the bye. But there’s no excuses there, we’ve got to be better.

“And there’s a lot of blokes that care in that shed. And sometimes when you put yourself under too much pressure you freeze a little bit.”

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