Mark Coyne has made it a personal mission to turn St George Illawarra’s NRL fortunes around, but admits the responsibility ultimately lies with coach Paul McGregor and chief executive Peter Doust.
The former Dragons skipper has been drafted in to help return the club to it’s competitive best following a wide-ranging review of their poor 2016 campaign.
He will join sports scientist Dr Craig Duncan, and coaching and performance specialists Clare Prideaux and Dirk Melton on a four-person football committee for a series of meetings over coming months.
Coyne, who spent more than a decade at the Dragons, said the group’s aim was to make sure McGregor and his staff had the right systems in place to be successful as early as next season.
“There’s no reason why that can’t happen,” he told AAP on Thursday.
“I understand that fans are disappointed in the way the club’s performed in the previous few years. What the club is attempting to do now is address that by looking at building a football department that is a lot more focused on high performance.
“There’s no doubt that Mary (McGregor) is going to be under a bit of pressure. I’m good friends with him, but my role is to make sure he and the people around him have the right focus to put 17 players on the field every day that are going to be extremely competitive.”
The retired Australian and Queensland representative said he was taking his role – albeit “very small” – very seriously because part of his heart belonged to the club.
“I’ve gone for St George since I was seven years old and I’ve had the honour of leading the club and playing with them for 12 years,” he said.
“I absolutely have a lot of investment in that club and I want to see them get back to where they were in 2008, 2009, 2010 and challenge for the premiership.”
Apart from poor on-field execution, Coyne felt the playing roster was the Dragons’ biggest issue this season.
But deciding who to let go and who to recruit was beyond the committee’s control.
“The CEO and the coach are ultimately responsible for the roster, and in my view, the roster certainly needs to be enhanced,” he said.
“They are both jointly responsible for making sure that the roster is going to give them the best opportunity to win a premiership.
“I’ll work hard with the committee to make sure that we provide the football department with the tools and the programs to be able to maximise their success, but then it’s over to them to implement and execute those programs to make sure that the club is successful.”