By Rachael Price
St George Illawarra Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor is fast learning the intricacies regarding recruitment as he explains the rationale behind the recruitment of several new players to the Club.
In his first pre-season in the role, McGregor has entrusted the support of Director of Recruitment and Retention Peter Mulholland to assist in affairs regarding the salary cap at the Club, the attainment of new players and the retaining of current ones.
The Head Coach spoke of the current media speculation surrounding the contract discussions between lock Trent Merrin and the Club as well as the recruitment of experienced players such as George Rose and Heath L’Estrange.
“When we made the decision to make a change to the side we look at the salary cap and who fits the bill, but we also looked at what we need; the Dragons need experience,” said McGregor.
“The players that we’ve welcomed to the Club have played six Grand Finals between them and have played a lot of first grade football, but they were also relatively inexpensive.
“Last year we were the second youngest club in the competition so it was good to have Peter Mulholland around to help with the salary cap side of things and bring in older and more experienced players.
“We didn’t need any more youth coming through; we have a great selection of juniors working their way up through the ranks and developing their skills.
“It was a no brainer to nab George Rose; he has played 140 games and a first-grader who has played in the front-row and played in Grand Finals who is also big and wanted to come to our Club.
“Trent Merrin knows to let his manager make the decision that’s best for him and I need to let my recruitment manager make the best decision for the Club.
“I’m very optimistic that the outcome regarding Trent Merrin is positive, but if it’s not that’s just the way it is, we move on.
“Peter and Trent’s manager are both looking after their respective clients which are their jobs but hopefully it all works out well for both.
“We put all that aside out on the field; Trent knows this is a business and he knows exactly what I’m trying to shape here, he accepts it and we talk every day and that’ll never change, we’ve known each other for a very long time.
“I think Trent is growing into himself and he’s reaching his full potential; he’s played for his state for a number of years and he’s in the top echelon of players.
“If you asked Trent if he thinks his game needs to improve then he’d say yes and as his coach I’d say the same for him and for every player I coach.
“I rate him as a great player and I really believe he can and will improve and develop as a player over the coming season.
“I hope he stays with the Club.”