Dragons expected to explore options

Dragons coach Steve Price's position is being reviewed by club management. Photo: Andy Zakeli
Dragons coach Steve Price's position is being reviewed by club management. Photo: Andy Zakeli

Dragons officials have confirmed they have begun reviewing the team's recent performances in a move expected to lead to a decision on the future of coach Steve Price.

It was revealed this week Price was likely to remain in charge until at least the end of the season but St George Illawarra management are set to consider other possible long-term options, which may include NSW Origin coach Laurie Daley, Newcastle's Wayne Bennett, Melbourne's Craig Bellamy and Gold Coast assistant coach Neil Henry.

Assistant coach Paul McGregor, who is a member of the Blues coaching staff, may be another option after serving a long apprenticeship in the local Illawarra competition and with the club's NSW Cup team.

After a good start to the season, recent results have increased the pressure on Price and questions are being asked internally about how the team has slumped to 13th.

"The club understands and shares the frustrations in relation to recent team performance in particular, and the board and management have been seeking detailed explanations from football management," the Dragons said on the club's website. "An update will be provided at an appropriate time in the near future."

Price was re-signed last season on a one-year deal, and St George Illawarra have an option on his services for next year.

With most of the club's star players under contract, officials believe there is no great urgency to make a decision on his position.

However, a consultant engaged by the club has recommended to the Dragons board that it should explore the market before finalising its 2015 coach.

The Dragons conducted a comprehensive review of their coaching set-up at the end of last season before appointing McGregor and Craig Young as assistants to Price.

Key performance indicators were set for the coaching staff – including Price, Young and McGregor, who is responsible for the team's attacking structures.

Young was moved from his long-time role in charge of recruitment and the club's high-performance unit to become forwards coach.

Changes were also made in recruitment and sport science.

Before any decision is made on the coaching position, St George Illawarra officials are expected to explore the possibility of Bennett returning to the club he guided to premiership glory in 2010.

Although contracted to Newcastle for another season, Bennett's deal is with Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group which on Friday relinquished control of the club after last week failing to pay 20 key staff – including Bennett and star players Kurt Gidley and Darius Boyd.

Bennett has also been linked to a return to Brisbane, where he coached for 21 years.

Since Bennett's departure in 2012, the Dragons have repeatedly tried to lure Bellamy from the Storm and they would be likely to try again.

It is expected they will meet Henry – who is without a head coaching position for the first time since 2006 after being dumped by North Queensland at the end of last year – before finalising their decision within the next two months.

Daley is also understood to have impressed St George Illawarra officials with his handling of recent NSW setbacks. The Blues coach has an association with the Dragons, having been part of Nathan Brown's coaching staff in 2003 in his first senior coaching position.

This story Dragons expected to explore options first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.