Marshall urges Dragons to stick with McGregor

IAN MCCULLOUGH
Last updated 02:20 27/06/2014
Paul McGregor and Benji Marshall
Getty Images

RINGING ENDORSEMENT: Benji Marshall (right) has endorsed interim coach Paul McGregor (centre) to be signed permanently at St George Illawarra.

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Benji Marshall believes Paul McGregor has all the attributes to be one of the top coaches in the NRL and urged St George Illawarra powerbrokers to give him the job on a permanent basis.

McGregor was handed the reins at the Dragons last month until the end of the season after Steve Price was axed on the back of six defeats in seven matches.

Wayne Bennett, Tim Sheens and Nathan Brown have all been linked with the job, but having spent more than a month working with McGregor Marshall believes the joint-venture club have the best man for the job right under their noses.

"I really rate him. He is very honest, tells the truth and gives you confidence when you need it too," Marshall told AAP.

"From what I've seen of his coaching I really do think he has the ability to be one of the great coaches in the game.

"He has a great feel for his players and is an outstanding man-manager - something that is often overlooked when people talk about coaching."

The Dragons have won two of three of McGregor's games in charge, including a nailbiting 19-18 win over the Gold Coast on Sunday and Marshall said the team is benefiting from his no-nonsense, straight-talking approach.

"He has coached a lot of the young players in the side in the lower grades and sometimes he will give it to them straight and often that is what you need," he said.

"He was also a brilliant player in his own right and straight away there is a respect for him."

In addition to his work on the training field, Marshall believes McGregor's greatest asset is knowing when a player requires an arm around the shoulder, something he admits he's needed since his return from rugby.

"I still feel I'm trying to build my confidence, I do something good and I'm alright ... but then I do something bad and I get a bit down and remember the tough times again," he said.

"I made four errors last week, three the week before and I think 10 over five games.

"For a half that is far too many and 'Mary' could see I was down.

"He came and spoke to me and told me I was the best halfback he had and that wasn't going to change. It really was what I needed to hear.

"I am really enjoying it here. Every day I wake up and I can't wait to get to training.

"I feel like I am learning new things off him every day, he challenges me to be the best I can be.

"As a player that's what you want."

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- AAP

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