Paul McGregor dismisses the notion he has a point to prove to rival coach Wayne Bennett in the high-powered NRL clash between his St George Illawarra and Brisbane on Friday.
Dragons great McGregor was axed from his role as strength and conditioning coach at St George Illawarra when Bennett took over as coach in 2009.
After a spell coaching in the local competition, McGregor returned as an assistant after Bennett left for Newcastle and he took the head coaching reins when Steve Price’s tenure ended midway through last season.
While decorated coach Bennett has reinvigorated the Broncos since his return this season and has them alone in top spot with a 5-1 record, McGregor’s Dragons have overcome a slow start to be third at 4-2 going into their Kogarah Oval clash.
The Dragons are coming off four successive victories – the first time this has happened since the 2011 season – Bennett’s last in charge.
But McGregor insists he doesn’t feel any urge to show Bennett he was wrong six years ago.
“No, not at all, no way in the world, how can I prove myself to him?” McGregor said.
“We’re in round seven so I am not going to buy too much into anything just now.
“It’s not about me and Wayne. It’s about the players out on the field.”
McGregor said Bennett’s achievement in steering the Dragons to their first joint venture premiership in 2010 deserved to be remembered but the club was moving forward after three lean seasons since his departure.
“He was very successful when he was here and the players had a lot of belief in what Wayne was doing,” he said.
“He got the result that not many could and that was the grand final. But once someone walks out the door someone else comes in.
“But it’s been a long time ago. Wayne has been at two clubs since then and he is doing a good job there and we are doing what we are doing.”
Bennett said on Thursday he would always have a soft spot for the Dragons but curiously only singled out McGregor’s assistant coaches Dean Young and Ben Hornby for praise and not the man who will be in the opposite coaching box on Friday.
“I wasn’t reading that in the first two weeks,” said Bennett when asked about the Dragons’ recent upturn in form under McGregor.
“I’ve got great respect for Dean Young and Hornby, I think they’re outstanding men and were great players for me in my time at the Dragons.
“They brought a hell of a lot to the club and I’m pleased to see them still involved.
“They’ll be long-term there, those two people. They really are the heart and soul of the organisation in terms of players and staff. You’re not going to get two better people.”
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA v BRISBANE KEY STATS:
* The Broncos have won the past eight encounters against the Dragons
* The Dragons have not won five consecutive matches since winning nine straight in early 2011
* Josh Dugan has a great try-scoring record against the Broncos with six tries in seven games