Paul McGregor has the best winning record of any NRL coach so far to win a premiership and he hopes to achieve that goal in the next three seasons after finalizing a contract extension that should ensure that he becomes St George's oldest mentor Illawarra.
The Dragons board acknowledged the continued improvement of the team and the development of representative stars under McGregor's direction, extending his mandate until the end of 2021.
McGregor has been in charge of St. George Illawarra for the past four seasons since taking over Steve Price in May 2014, the Dragons have made the finals twice and have been at the top of the Telstra Premiership team for long periods in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
McGregor's record during this period comprises 50 wins in 99 starts – a 50.5% strike rate.
Only Craig Bellamy (77), Wayne Bennett (67), Trent Robinson (62) and Paul Green (60) had more wins, while Des Hasler (52%) is the only other coach with more than 50% wins. since 2015.
All five are winning coaches, but Bennett's latest success was with St George Illawarra in 2010 while Hasler's latest triumph in the final was with Manly in 2011. Both are in new jobs this season after being laid off by their previous clubs .
Some Dragons fans have been critical of McGregor, but the level of support for him usually coincides with which part of the club logo they identify – the top, which bears the name St George, or the background, where Illawarra is printed.
Having captained St George Illawarra in the first three seasons of the joint venture (1999-2001), McGregor is passionate about the club and has now spent more of his life playing or working for the Dragons than the eight years he played for the Steelers. .
"I've always had a strong passion and I've always enjoyed the club I played and the club that I coach," McGregor told reporters ahead of Saturday's game against Hasler's Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium.
"He has a strong history and many people in the past have done a lot to take the club to where he is today so I just want to continue the tradition of working hard to make sure to leave the club in a better position. of what I found.
After inheriting a list that was lightweight and lacking in quality halves, McGregor had to reshape his team and the Dragons now have the best packs in the NRL.
Under McGregor's command, Tyson Frizell, Paul Vaughan, Tariq Sims and Jack de Belin both developed in Origin or Test Forwards, while halfback Ben Hunt and hooker Cameron McInnes are playing better than in their previous clubs.
McGregor also had to make some tough decisions around retention and it could be argued that the likes of Trent Merrin, Brett Morris, Russel Packer and Mitch Rein played their best football in the Dragons.
"We improved in the last three years of 11º for the ninth to the seventh, stability around our junior development and our paths is strong and our cover is in very good shape in the future, "he said.
"I have quality people and quality people as players, and it does not take a day to do – it takes years. Every club, unless you are a club that has been successful recently, takes time to build and when you succeed, as you saw in the Cowboys at the moment, it can be taken quickly. "
The Dragons continue to develop local talents with Matt Dufty, Blake Lawrie and Zac Lomax settling into the top 17 of this season and Illawarra to just one place win in the SG Ball final.
It is important to note that players like to be trained by McGregor and have adopted the first values he instilled.
Many have asked when McGregor would be re-signed, and his new appointment should help the club keep names like Frizell, De Belin, Lawrie and Lomax who are without a contract this year or in 2020.
"Obviously, our values are very strong, we want to have a happy environment, we want to have a responsible environment, we want to have respect and we want to be dedicated," McGregor said.
"If you look at these four values that also demand time, we are fortunate to have a stable environment around the workplace.
"I think along the way the board and CEO have seen how hard we work behind the scenes so we do not just worry about W and L [columns], but what is happening below it?