Embattled St George Illawarra coach Steve Price has the full support of the NRL club's playing group and should be re-signed by the Dragons, according to newly-minted captain Ben Creagh.
Price has been under enormous pressure to keep his position, with Melbourne's premiership-winning coach Craig Bellamy heavily courted.
Bellamy reportedly knocked back a A$5 million offer from the Dragons, who remain interested - but Creagh believes they have the right man sitting in the hot seat already.
Speaking at the Charity Shield launch, Creagh was defiant when asked if he wanted Price to continue beyond this season: ''100 per cent - he was great for us last year and he's doing a great job right now.''
The Dragons misfired in Price's first season after he took over from seven-time premiership winner Wayne Bennett - missing the finals for just the second time since 2003.
But Creagh said Price was in no danger of losing the support of the playing group, suggesting he had learned from his debut season and had developed into a top-line coach.
''I don't need to speak to him and reassure him. He knows it,'' Creagh added.
''He's doing a great job for us at the moment.
''Pre-season has been the toughest I've been involved in, in every aspect.
''On the field, in our training drills with the coach, it's been extremely tough.
''He's doing all the right things. And the players are doing all the right things getting behind him with the attitude and work ethic towards training too.''... I thought he was really good in his first season ... He's definitely got a bit more of a spring into his step this pre-season with how he approaches his training and how he's coaching us at the moment.''
Price has refused to be drawn on the saga and, on Wednesday, he reiterated that it had not been a distraction during pre-season.
The 35-year-old admitted he could understand why his superiors at the Dragons would enquire about Bellamy.
''At the end of the day, it's like all clubs. They've got a responsibility when players come off contract that they can look at other players when they come off contract,'' he said.
''So it's no different to what position I'm in but, at the end of the day, my sole focus is this year, 2013, and I'm really looking forward to kicking off our first two trials and getting down to Melbourne in round one.
''It's not a distraction to me whatsoever.''
Bellamy has said he'll have his future settled before Melbourne set off for the World Club Challenge against Leeds in England on February 12.Price said he wanted to stay at the Dragons long term.
''I'm a very driven sort of guy but I don't buy into all that media speculation that's been surrounding us since prior to Christmas,'' he said.
''As I said, my sole focus is 2013. I love this footy club, I'd love to be part of it for many years to come but I'm very focused on this year.''
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