McGregor threatens axe at NRL's Dragons

Coach Paul McGregor suggested he'll wield the axe after some poor performances at the Dragons.
Coach Paul McGregor suggested he'll wield the axe after some poor performances at the Dragons.

Paul McGregor has threatened to wield the axe at St George Illawarra after the Dragons slumped to their fourth straight loss at the hands of Newcastle.

Blessed with one of the competition's best rosters, the Saints are now 12th on the NRL ladder following Sunday's 45-12 flogging at the hands of Newcastle.

They have not put together two winning halves of football since their win over Canterbury in round five - a problem McGregor is desperate to fix.

"We've got to have a real good look at why," McGregor said.

"We can use the experience missing on the sidelines. We can use the learning that we're getting at the moment.

"But the same people are making the same errors and poor reads on a weekly basis.

"So it might be time for change."

Most notably without the stood-down Jack de Belin, the Dragons are also missing big-name stars Gareth Widdop (shoulder) and Corey Norman (knee).

Forward Korbin Sims is due to return from a broken arm next week against Cronulla, timely given McGregor suggested his middle players appeared frustrated on Sunday.

"When there are a lot of people missing with experience you can get comfortable," McGregor said.

"I'm not saying that's the case at the moment ... and it would be disappointing if it is.

"But we've got a lot of guys still learning their craft. And learning at tough times.

"We're halfway through the year so if we're still making the same errors, and giving away the same sort of penalties and the same people are doing it that means they're not listening."

The Dragons aren't the only of last year's finalists struggling, with Cronulla, the Warriors, Brisbane and last-placed Penrith all outside the eight after 10 rounds.

Manly moved to fifth and ahead of Newcastle with their 24-14 defeat of Cronulla on Sunday, while fourth-placed Canberra lost no admirers in their 16-12 loss to South Sydney on Saturday night.

That result put the Rabbitohs to the top of the ladder for the first time this year, with Melbourne and the Roosters still well clear of the chasing pack.

Australian Associated Press