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Despite facing their worst start to a season, St George Illawarra insisted it was a time for loyalty when they granted coach Paul McGregor a reprieve following an emergency board meeting on Tuesday.
Just four games into a new two-year contract, McGregor's time in the role appeared up when the meeting was called in the wake of Monday's humiliating 22-2 loss to the Bulldogs, which left the Dragons alone at the bottom of the NRL ladder.
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However, the board opted to stick with McGregor despite a horror start to the season which has yielded four straight losses, including the past two games without scoring a try.
It's understood McGregor would have been entitled to a payout of around $1 million if sacked, placing great financial strain on the club, along with the cost of hiring a new coach.
All would fall under the club's football department cap, and without an obvious replacement, the club would risk missing out on attracting the right long-term coach with less cash to spend.
Even still, fans have reacted to the McGregor news with a mixture of disbelief and anger, with some disillusioned Dragons supporters signalling their intentions of boycotting the club.
Axing McGregor would have been very costly
Other fans, however, are fully understanding of the reasons why McGregor was spared the axe - considering the trying financial circumstances most clubs find themselves in at the moment and how much it would have cost to pay him out.
"Although the board acknowledges the club's performances so far throughout 2020 have been unacceptable, we will continue to support Paul, his staff and the team through these tough times," Dragons chairman Andrew Gordon said in a statement.
"We are committed to Paul as coach of the St George Illawarra Dragons and look forward to seeing him right the wrongs of the opening month of the current campaign.
"We are a club that stands by our people when under pressure. This is a time for loyalty, strength and commitment from the players, coach, board and staff to improve."
McGregor is now charged with turning around their poorest season start since 2005. A loss against Cronulla on Sunday would make it their worst ever.
It comes on the back of the Dragons' 15th place finish in 2019, which was their lowest as a merged club.
After the Canterbury loss, McGregor said he would not quit but he would understand if the club's hierarchy decided to terminate his contract.
with Yahoo Sport staff