Paul McGregor is narrowing the focus of his role as he fights to keep his St George Illawarra NRL coaching job in 2017.
Coming off-contract and under pressure, McGregor has already stepped away from the club’s recruitment process following a review late last year.
He has previously put a strong emphasis on the club’s youth, including last season where he famously sat the departing Benji Marshall in round 25 to test up-and-coming halfback Drew Hutchison.
But with McGregor and almost half of the Dragons’ roster fighting to be part a potentially new-look Dragons next year, McGregor suggested the time for those kind of priorities was over.
“In 2016 and 2015 when you’ve got a few years to go on your contract you look more holistically,” McGegor told AAP.
“You look at the juniors, the reserve grade and your squad and how you’re going to strengthen your whole squad over a period of time.”
“That time of my contract is coming to an end.”
McGregor isn’t the only Dragons’ player or official whose future is certain to be in the spotlight this year.
With gun halfback Ben Hunt already scheduled to arrive in 2018, playmakers Gareth Widdop, Josh McCrone and the injured Hutchison are among those off-contract.
“My job this year because I’m off contract is solely on my current players and the people who support me,” McGregor said.
“If I can give them everything I have they will return by playing well and obviously their contracts will look after themselves and mine will too – whether it be at this club or at another club.
“That’s the way I’m looking at 2017.”
In his two full years in charge at the Dragons, McGregor returned the club to the finals for the first time in four seasons in 2015.
However his team followed that up by dropping seven of their last nine games last year to finish 11th.
“Nobody was more frustrated than myself,” he said.
“If I can shoulder most of that pressure away from my players and not let that affect our team performance I will be more than happy.”