The Dragons have officially run out of patience with Paul McGregor, with the embattled NRL coach agreeing to part ways with the club.
McGregor met with club directors on Wednesday night before agreeing to step down, with Dean Young to take over in the interim.
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“I understand a fresh face and new voice is needed to move the club forward,” the former Kangaroos centre said on Thursday.
“I hope this decision will provide clarity to the playing group, the entire staff and our passionate members and partners regarding the direction the club is headed.
“We haven't met performance expectations over the past 18 months, and I take acceptance of responsibility.
“I had the opportunity to build my team, which we did in 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately, we have not put that same side on the field since for a number of reasons.”
McGregor will coach the Dragons on Friday night against the Eels before departing.
That will see him equal Nathan Brown as the most capped Dragons coach, but he will now remain stranded alongside him on 151 games.
Sydney Morning Herald journalist Andrew Webster reported that McGregor and the board had both become frustrated.
“It is understood Dragons directors had become tired of the direction of the team this year, with McGregor failing to develop the cream of the club's young players,” Webster wrote.
“On the flipside, it is understood McGregor was unhappy about his team being determined on a weekly basis by a selection committee.”
McGregor’s future was set to be discussed at a board meeting next week, however he has seemingly bit the bullet.
The club will begin its search for a full-time replacement from next year, with McGregor's exit coming with 15 months still to run on his contract.
Fourth NRL coach sacked in tumultuous year
McGregor in turn becomes the fourth coach to depart this year, behind Stephen Kearney (Warriors), Paul Green (North Queensland) and Dean Pay (Canterbury).
Under pressure from the start of the season, McGregor survived the sack just two months ago when the Dragons fell to a horror 0-4 start.
The club briefly rebounded, but three recent losses on the trot proved too much.
At the helm since 2014, McGregor took the club to two finals series in 2015 and 2018.
He appeared to have the club in the right direction but Jack de Belin's sexual assault charge and Gareth Widdop's exit hurt the Dragons.
They have since struggled to replace De Belin, who has been stood down while awaiting trial, with Corey Norman not proving to be the answer in the halves.
Fans reacted to the McGregor news on social media:
I feel for the bloke, glad he wasn’t coaching at my club but horrible seeing anyone lose their job, more so with feral fans dancing on his grave. As for any early return of Flanagan... the @nrl would be most unwise to allow it.— James Rosenberg (@bjorosenberg) August 12, 2020
It had to come. Seems a nice bloke but it's a business that relies on success— Gundary4🎀 (@gundary4) August 12, 2020
It was going to happen tbh.— Ali Melaiye (@AMelaiye) August 13, 2020
PAUL MCGREGOR'S COACHING RECORD
Finals: 2 (2015, 2018)