It wasn’t to be for the Tigers who saw their finals hopes take a major hit. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)
It wasn’t to be for the Tigers who saw their finals hopes take a major hit. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

McGregor labels win best of his career

ST George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has labelled his side's 20-10 win against Wests Tigers as the best of his coaching career.

Without injured captain Gareth Widdop, the Dragons produced a gutsy performance in front of 18,387 people at Leichhardt Oval to record just their second win in their past six matches.

They also had to defend with 12 men when halfback Ben Hunt was sent to the sin bin in the 52nd minute.

 

The 10-point victory at the famous venue moves the Dragons back inside the top four and all but ended the Tigers' season.

A late try to Tyson Frizell sealed the result for the away side, confirming their place in the finals.

Young forward Luciano Leilua was outstanding for the Dragons and he score a well-deserved try in the 64th minute when he barged over two defenders to find the line.

The Dragons ended their form slump with a vital win. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)
The Dragons ended their form slump with a vital win. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

"Under the circumstances I'd nearly say it's the best win I've had as a coach since I've been at the club," McGregor said.

"Considering the start of the game was a six-nil penalty count and one in the bin, the opposition playing for their season.

"With the scrutiny the players have been under, to come out and get the result we had today shows what we've built our year on since round one."

With two rounds remaining in the regular season, the Tigers remain four competition points outside the top eight, with a slim mathematical chance of playing in the finals.

The home side had plenty of chances throughout the 80 minutes, but poor handling let them down. They controlled the opening 25 minutes but couldn't trouble the scorers as they made five errors inside the Dragons' 20 metres.

Although their season is all but over, coach Ivan Cleary remained positive.

Luke Brooks couldn’t steer his side to victory in front of home fans. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)
Luke Brooks couldn’t steer his side to victory in front of home fans. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

"The season's not over," Cleary said.

"We've got two more games to go and we can't control other things. The reality is we are still alive, anything can happen still.

"When we started the season, our season wasn't going to be defined by anyone external; it was going to be defined by what we did.

"We've got a game next Thursday night against the Sea Eagles at Campbelltown and our job is to get out there and perform

"It's obviously disappointed but we've got to move on. There's no point crying about it now. It's finished. We've got to learn from what we did."

The Dragons face the Bulldogs and Knights to finish the regular season as they aim for a top four finish.



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