McGregor feels relief after Dragons' win

Pamela Whaley
The Dragons' first win of the season over Cronulla has eased some pressure off coach Paul McGregor

Under-fire St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor enjoyed a moment of relief on Sunday night after the Dragons won their first NRL game in five weeks.

In the seven days prior, McGregor was forced to defend his two-year contract, and was given a reprieve from the club at an emergency board meeting the morning after a 22-2 loss to Canterbury.

It was an emotional week for McGregor, who said he had learned to deal with the pressure while shielding his players from the external noise as best as possible.

"[Pressure's] never going away, it's there," McGregor said.

"I try to shield my players away from that stuff but it's hard to hide from it.

"It's been in and around every conversation so the players would certainly know about it.

"But my focus has been to make sure I'm present with the players and in the moment with every conversation at training so I distance myself from any pressure, or I try to."

After a raft of positional changes including dumping star half Ben Hunt to the bench, McGregor discovered a spark in attack which was previously doused.

It gave a handful of loyal fans who gathered in a car park opposite Campbelltown Stadium something to finally cheer about.

However, McGregor knows how fleeting confidence can be in the NRL and says they need to improve again to face Gold Coast on Saturday.

"Confidence can come and go pretty quickly and when you've got it, you see the results from it, and when you haven't, you can see the results from that," he said.

"All we focused on was not the 'W' at all.

"We want to win, there's no doubt about that.

"The biggest thing for us was improving our game because we were not happy with the way we were playing, and we improved today.

"Do we need to improve more? Absolutely.

"We're a proud club, we're not happy with where we are."