Paul McGregor has spent more time than he cares to remember watching footage of Melbourne’s Queensland superstars but is not ready to put it to good use when his St George Illawarra side face the Storm on Monday.
McGregor is part of the NSW staff that has helped orchestrate the Blues’ first State of Origin series win in nine years but was parachuted into the Dragons’ hot seat after Steve Price’s sacking last month.
The 46-year-old is unsure if he’ll be offered the job full-time, but having already won two of his three games in charge victory over the Storm in Wollongong would strengthen his bargaining position with the Dragons’ board.
But McGregor knows his team face a hugely difficult test against a Storm side coming into the game on the back of a Billy Slater-inspired 46-20 win over Parramatta last Sunday.
“They’re quality players and they don’t change too much how they play, but they are perfect at it,” McGregor said.
“That’s the challenge, you know what’s coming it’s how you stop it.
“Why they are the players they are is that they do it week in week out.
“Everyone knows what everyone does nowadays with the amount of video around, but what has been good being in the Origin camp is to hear different opinions from other coaches and that certainly helps you back your instincts.”
Wayne Bennett and Neil Henry have both been linked with the Dragons position and McGregor, who has put his environmental services business commitments on hold, has no idea what the future holds.
“It’s challenging, but time goes quick and when you are doing a job where you don’t look at the clock it means you are enjoying it,” he said.
“As a caretaker coach I am not as stressed as most coaches whose heads are on the chopping blocks.
“I see the club improving and that’s important, but at the moment it’s a week-to-week thing.”
McGregor said Dragons CEO Peter Doust is yet to make any formal approach beyond the end of this season, and he’s not going to go knocking on his door to demand the job.
“I have a business outside of footy at the moment and although rugby league is a large part of my life, it is not all my life,” he said.
“But it has taken over my life over the last month, and so it should, because of the position I am holding.
“But I am in no hurry. The club has to search for the best coach … if it doesn’t happen to me before round 26 it doesn’t happen. I don’t really care.
“I always worry about what I can control and at the moment, that is this footy team.
“If the job gets offered, then I’ll reassess the situation. If it goes to someone else, then congratulations and we all move on.”