An angry Paul McGregor has hit back at suggestions his players stayed down to milk penalties during their 20-18 Anzac Day win over the Sydney Roosters.
Both Roosters coach Trent Robinson and captain Jake Friend took aim at St George Illawarra players after the controversial clash in which the bunker awarded a number of penalties for foul play after players stayed down.
But McGregor pointed to the fact that neither Mitch Rein – who was laid out in a late tackle by Kane Evans in the 49th minute – and a knocked-out Taane Milne did not return to the field as evidence his players had not faked injuries.
“How can those two players get off the ground when they don’t take any further part in the game?” McGregor argued on Wednesday.
McGregor also highlighted the fact Sam Moa was cited for a hit on Josh McCrone as further justification for his argument, while he defended winger Jason Nightingale for not getting up after a grapple tackle from Eloni Vunakece.
“He had every right to do whatever he wants,” McGregor said.
“He’s an international player and if he thinks he’s uncomfortable and he’s been taken out in the wrong way, he can do what he needs to do.”
McGregor also argued it was he, not Robinson, who had more reason to complain about the bunker after the match.
“He’s talking about the bunker being the referee for the day – well it was unfortunate that a forward pass led to one of their tries that we didn’t get to get reviewed,” he said.
“And the other one, the try that (Latrell) Mitchell scored, was off a knock-on.”
It was the second Anzac Day in a row where Robinson complained about Dragons players staying down to gain an advantage, after he unloaded on centre Euan Aitken last year.
Now McGregor has had enough.
“There’s a sign of a frustrated man to be honest after the game,” he said of Robinson.
“I’m annoyed because last year he made a reference of young Euan Aitkin staying on the ground, and he was coming off four losses at the time.
“And he lost seven penalty counts in the next 19 games. So maybe there is a little bit of method of what he is talking about there.”