Disgruntled St George Illawarra fans have taken their anger out on coach Paul McGregor after the side’s epic collapse against the Rabbitohs.
South Sydney made it back-to-back wins to open the Wayne Bennett era after easily dispatching of the Dragons 34-18 on Thursday night.
The defeat was an opportunity missed for a depleted Dragons side missing representative forwards Jack de Belin and Tyson Frizell.
The signs were ominous early for the Rabbitohs when Tariq Sims strolled through their defensive line only to fluff his grounding in the third minute.
The Dragons’ big men were rolling through the ruck at ease against a Rabbitohs pack that appeared fatigued early in the contest.
And while it was the visitors who drew first blood on Cameron Murray’s 50-metre run, Jordan Pereira went over twice in ten minutes to claim the lead for the hosts.
The first was a neat flick pass from centre partner Tim Lafai, before completing his brace off a three-man cutout pass from Corey Norman.
But the Dragons fell off alarmingly in the second half to slump to back-to-back defeats to open their season.
Many angry supporters lay the blame squarely at the feet of McGregor.
“And this will be my last game as coach as it’s only fair on these talented players that I do not coach them anymore”- ex coach Paul Mcgregor
— Dean Zammit (@dean_zammit10) March 21, 2019
— Steve Trudgett (@STrudge06) March 21, 2019
— Vince (@vincehellier) March 21, 2019
@nrl_dragons have you finally seen enough of a coach totally out of his depth in McGregor. Fancy moving all these players to get a one season first grader and 22 year old on the field. What has duft done in either match so far? I’m embarrassed to say I’m a Dragons fan. #failmary
— Benny (@saintbenny63) March 21, 2019
Next week under this Fraud of a coach named McGregor, we will be 0-3 to start the season. #failmary #MaryOut #Mcfraud NEEDS TO GET SACKED. @NRL_Dragons management you are a disgrace for keeping this Fraud. #NewBoardNewManagement #SameCrap #SeasonOver
— George Y (@rvpredv) March 21, 2019
No more knee jerk reaction, McGregor is an awful coach and anyone who can’t see that is simply an idiot #NRLDragonsRabbitohs
— Andrew 🇳🇴 (@madmuzz_196) March 21, 2019
How the hell did we choke that one?
— Dylan (@Chrysalis89) March 21, 2019
— Leon (@Le0n86) March 21, 2019
My beloved @NRL_Dragons boys, us fans LOVE you guys. But I'm sorry we have had enough of McGregor. We support you guys no matter what, but also a stance needs to be taken against this coach. We wish you boys all the success in the world & it starts with the coach #MaryOut #redv
— George Y (@rvpredv) March 21, 2019
Sam Burgess was the catalyst for the Rabbitohs’ second half resurgence, scoring a try and setting up another in a game-turning four-minute period.
The England international completed a powerful performance with a second four-pointer in a six-try rout at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
Adam Reynolds put on another halfback masterclass, while Braidon Burns appears to have justified Bennett’s decision to play at left centre over Greg Inglis.
Burgess, who was also shifted to the edge this year by Bennett, finished with 157 metres, while Burns scored a try and also finished with a game-high 168 metres.
The only concern was a suspected shoulder injury to skipper Greg Inglis, who played through the pain and finished the game.
Down 12-6 at the break, Burgess barged over from close range in the 43rd minute before offloading for Cody Walker not long after.
Campbell Graham sealed the victory in the 62nd minute courtesy of a dubious forward pass, which drew the ire of the 10,080 crowd.
In a sour note for the Rabbitohs, forward Liam Knight was reported for a chicken-wing tackle on James Graham in the 28th minute.
Veteran John Sutton also came off in the first half and failed to return.