|Full name||Paul McGregor|
|Born||31 December 1967|
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||188 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||101 kg (15 st 13 lb)|
As of 28 July 2020
Paul McGregor (born 31 December 1967) is an Australian professional rugby league coach who was until August 2020, the head coach of the St. George Illawarra Dragons in the NRL, and a former professional rugby league footballer who played as a centre in the 1990s and 2000s.
McGregor played his club football for the Illawarra Steelers and then the merged St. George Illawarra Dragons at the commencement of their joint venture in 1999. He remained with the club and was appointed interim coach following the sacking of Steve Price part-way through the 2014 NRL season. He played for the Country Origin, New South Wales and Australia at international level.
McGregor was born in Dapto, New South Wales, Australia.
McGregor played five seasons of first grade at Dapto before being signed by the Steelers at age 23 in 1991. He made his first grade debut in round 1 against the Penrith Panthers at WIN Stadium on 17 March.
McGregor represented the NSW Blues in fourteen State of Origin games between 1992 and 1998. He added a touch of class to the Blues backline in the 1990s with his trademark step and wonderful offloads. He was a powerful runner of the football out wide and provided a great combination with his club teammate, Blues winger Rod Wishart.
Paul McGregor made his Test debut for Australia from the bench in a one-off Test against France on 6 July 1994, scoring a try in the Kangaroos record 58–0 win at the Parramatta Stadium in Sydney. At the end of the 1994 NSWRL season, he was selected to the 1994 Kangaroo tour, though his tour came to a premature end with a hamstring injury suffered in the Kangaroos 80–2 win over the Sheffield Eagles.
He was Man of the Match in Game II of the 1997 State of Origin series.
He had played 124 games with the Steelers club from 1991 to 1998, scoring 44 tries. He was a part of the Steelers 1992 Tooheys Challenge winning side that defeated the Brisbane Broncos.
McGregor was the foundation captain of the St. George Illawarra joint venture from 1999, leading the team into the 1999 NRL Grand Final against the Melbourne Storm. He spent time on the sidelines with injury that year and following a shoulder reconstruction he did not play during the entire 2000 NRL season. McGregor returned to the club in 2001 on an incentive based contract and retired at the end of the season, having played 34 games with the joint venture club.
McGregor joined the Dragons' coaching staff in 2002 as a strength and conditioning coach, a position he also held with the NSW Blues.
McGregor coached the Illawarra NSW Cup team in 2012 and 2013 before taking up the assistant position at St George Illawarra. His successor at the Illawarra Cutters was another former Illawarra player, Ian Millward.
Following the announcement of the sacking of incumbent first grade coach, Steve Price, McGregor was elevated to coach of the top tier team in May 2014, initially until the end of the 2014 season. Following improved form, McGregor was announced as the full-time head coach for the next three seasons until the end of 2017.
In 2015, McGregor coached the Dragons to finish in 8th position. This was the club's first finals appearance since 2011.
In 2017, many predicted the Dragons to finish in the bottom four, due to a disappointing 2016 season, where the Dragons were extremely poor in attack. In Round 1 2017, St George Illawarra beat the Penrith Panthers 42–10. St George Illawarra would go on to lose in Round 2, but win the next 5 games in a row. Due to improved form, the McGregor was re-signed by the Dragons on 8 June 2017, until the end of 2019. In the second half of the 2017 season, St George Illawarra suffered a terrible drop in form with the club winning only 4 of the last 11 matches. This drop in form culminated with the club losing against Canterbury in the last round of the regular season. Before the match, St George Illawarra only needed victory over their lower placed opponents to qualify for the finals as North Queensland had lost the earlier match. Due to St George Illawarra losing the game, North Queensland went on to finish in 8th place and qualify for the finals. This eventually lead to North Queensland reaching the 2017 NRL Grand Final.
In the 2018 season, McGregor guided St. George Illawarra to a 7th-place finish as they qualified for the finals. At one point, they were sitting equal first on the ladder after 20 rounds but for the third season in a row, the club suffered a late season form slump winning just 4 from the remaining 11 matches. McGregor himself came under criticism for the form slump with some sections of the media claiming his job was on the line. In week one of the finals, the Saints faced Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium with the home side being heavily fancied before the match. St George Illawarra went on to defeat Brisbane 48–18.
The following week, St. George Illawarra played South Sydney in the second elimination final. The Dragons lead late until the end of the match when Adam Reynolds kicked 3 field goals to win the match for Souths 13–12.
On 18 April 2019, McGregor was granted a two-year contract extension by St. George Illawarra, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2021 season. After St George Illawarra's 40–18 defeat against Penrith in Round 18 of the 2019 NRL season which left St George Illawarra in 14th position on the ladder, McGregor came under intense media criticism after he chose to rest Ben Hunt for the game.
In the 2019 NRL season, McGregor coached the joint venture to their worst finish; 15th place. The only thing keeping St. George Illawarra from 16th place were the Gold Coast Titans. McGregor was given a contract extension after the red v won four of their first six games. McGregor lead the club to win just 3 of their last 18 games, and five-match losing streaks from rounds 7–11 and again from rounds 16–20.
In the Covid-19 interrupted 2020 NRL season, the St. George Illawarra side lost its first four matches, including a 0-18 loss to a weakened New Zealand Warriors team, and a 22-2 loss to the last-placed Canterbury-Bankstown side, leading to renewed speculation about McGregor's future.
On 13 August 2020, McGregor was terminated as head coach of the St. George Illawarra club.He won his final game on 14 August 2020 when his side upset the Parramatta Eels with a tough 14-12 win.
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