'I'm my own harshest critic': Paul McGregor

Optimistic: Dragons coach Paul McGregor is excited for St George Illawarra's 2020 campaign. Picture: John Veage

Optimistic: Dragons coach Paul McGregor is excited for St George Illawarra's 2020 campaign. Picture: John Veage

Paul McGregor is excited for 2020, saying that he is his own harshest critic and that the Dragons have what it takes to bounce back from a disastrous season.

St George Illawarra ended their 2019 campaign with a win over the Titans on the Gold Coast on Saturday night but finished second last on the NRL table after a horror season blighted by injuries and absentees.

The under-pressure Dragons coach will be subject to an external review after McGregor approached coaching legend Phil Gould to appraise St George Illawarra's football operation.

Gould, a two-time premiership-winning coach and NSW's most successful State of Origin coach, will give an outsider's perspective to McGregor and Dragons CEO Brian Johnston.

But while McGregor may be under heavy fire from some sections of the Dragons' supporters, he is also looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding after a forgettable season.

"I think [I'm most excited] just to learn from what didn't work this year and grow. And as a group of men understand that we've got to be accountable for the season we had. In life you get obstacles in your way and you've just got to make sure that you work through them. This year has just been one after the other," he said.

"So we look forward to the guys having a break and getting away. We've got some very good players in this team. We just need to make sure that we attack it, we come back as rookies and start all over again.

"I'm a person that starts early and finishes late and works hard on the process to get a result. But I choose to do my role. I enjoy my role. I've got a playing group that I have the respect of that work hard. We just didn't get the results we needed this year.

"Personally, when I have time to reflect, I'm the harshest critic of myself. I don't need anyone else throwing it at me. I square myself up regularly and look for ways I need to fix things and change as well. I think there are plenty of lessons to learn out of this year. They'll all come out in the next couple of weeks.

"I think you go through moments like this year in every year of your career. Obviously this year is a year that we've been out of finals contention for a very long time and that's obviously fresh. To have that happen on a weekly basis has been a challenge. You've got to really understand that the process is important, you look at what you've got, not what you're waiting for to come back is something that we've got to be better at. Pre-season is pretty important to get everything right as well, I don't think we got our pre-season right last year."

Meanwhile, the draw for the women's NRL competition has been released, with the Dragons to open their season against Brisbane on Sunday. The match will be played before the Parramatta-Brisbane NRL elimination final at Bankwest Stadium.

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