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R L Winger

Coach
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About R L Winger

  • Birthday 01/01/1914

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    A very very long swim from here
  • Interests
    Football, Meat Pies, Cattle Dogs & Harley Davidson Motorbikes

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  1. Dragons begin repair work after season of strife and boycott threat St George Illawarra will shortly announce their coaching structure for next year and a strategy for Jack de Belin, whose NRL suspension almost forced the first player strike in the code in over a century. The events of the grim, cold afternoon of May 17 at the Comfort Inn, Mudgee, where Dragons players had assembled for a match against Newcastle, led to one of the worst seasons in the club's history. This was where St George Illawarra players learnt of a decision by the Federal Court to uphold an NRL ban on de Belin due to sexual assault charges. The Dragons' playing group was incensed at the decision and told coach Paul McGregor they intended to boycott a match on May 19 at Glen Willow Oval, Mudgee, against the Knights. Like most of the players, McGregor was convinced de Belin would have his ban overturned by the court and intended to fly the NSW Origin lock to the central-west town for the match. De Belin insisted he was innocent of the charges and his attitude carried the group. The perceived injustice of the ban by his ultimate employer, the NRL, ratified by the Federal Court that day, put the St George Illawarra players in a very rebellious mood. “They can’t do this,” was the prevailing view. Dragons chief executive Brian Johnston admitted he was phoned by football manager Ben Haran, who passed on the players’ intention to boycott the match, but said it was a brief, emotional reaction. He said the only vote taken was to boycott the media, the usual target when players are upset by officialdom. However, those in the Mudgee motel, such as McGregor and Craig Young - the former St George captain and international prop recently inducted into the ARL Commission’s Hall of Fame - believe the players were serious. Young is president of the St George half of the joint venture and, being a former detective, assists the club on integrity matters, including the de Belin issue. McGregor told Young the players had approached the football staff and indicated they intended to boycott the match. “Albert”, as he is known, was typically forthright, telling McGregor a strike was anathema to the club’s traditions and best interests of the game. Johnston’s immediate focus was de Belin, who would be unable to play football for at least a year. Over the next 48 hours, the players accepted Young’s view they must play, if only because a boycott would punish fans. Dragons fans were still disappointed because it was a dispirited performance against the Knights. By half-time, the Dragons were behind 28-0. They lost 45-12. Until then, it had been a mixed season for the Dragons, winning four games and losing five, but no club had scored seven tries against them. St George Illawarra finished second last on the ladder, prompting two reports – one by the Dragons' football department and another by former premiership coach Phil Gould. McGregor, who played under Gould in successful NSW Origin teams, asked him to perform the review. While it is normal for the Dragons to keep contentious matters in-house, Johnston knew the fans wanted answers. Furthermore, Gould has significant credibility in the football community and his intervention would placate fickle supporters the club had lost. Gould interviewed nine players and concluded, according to media reports, the club did not have a defining DNA. While the joint venture with the Illawarra Steelers 20 years ago may have blurred the Dragons’ identity, there is no doubt among most past players and coaches it has an identity. An obligation exists to honour the club’s image, which admittedly is a fairly nebulous concept and perhaps not understood by any player who joined the Dragons simply because they offered the most money; or even a generation focused on immediate self-gratification. But if you have been at the club for six years, as I was, and followed it closely since, it is apparent the good name of the Dragons is far loftier than the interests of any player or official. Its DNA is reflected in the final line of the club song: “Now, aren’t we a wonderful credit to our locality.” The problem arises when the club's DNA collides with player rights, as evidenced in the de Belin case, when players were forced to choose between not trashing the club brand through a boycott and supporting a mate whose individual rights, they believed, had been trammelled. Wayne Bennett, who coached the Dragons for three years and won a long-awaited premiership, predicted this. NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg gathered a few influential rugby league people - such as Australian coach Mal Meninga, Bennett and Gould - for a dinner to hear their views before introducing his automatic ban on any player charged with an offence that carries a sentence of 11 years or more in jail. Bennett told him: “If you do this, St George Illawarra will come last.” “Long neck”, as he is known, may have stuck it out with his prediction but the Dragons' second-last position on the ladder meant he was wrong by only one rung. When de Belin’s court case to hear five sexual assault charges against him was set down for two weeks from March 2 next year, the Dragons feared the end of one dismal season would merge ignominiously into the next. However, the intervention of Wollongong District Court acting judge Paul Conlon has brought the case forward to February 3, the start of the 2020 legal year. Johnston is working on a strategy involving de Belin, accommodating both a guilty and not guilty verdict. In his report, Gould did not conclude the de Belin matter was a significant factor in the club’s poor season. But it is important to realise he was only reacting to what he was told by the players he interviewed. Players are notorious for giving answers they believe authority figures want to hear, using phrases such as, "that’s a cop out". After all, tough guys are not supposed to admit they missed their most lethal forward. In any case, the report by the Dragons' football department indicated dissatisfaction by players’ wives at de Belin’s actions and it can be suggested this affected their husbands. De Belin trained strongly with the team all season, and perhaps his presence on the practice field highlighted his absence from the playing field. Johnston conceded the club's DNA had, perhaps, not been articulated to players. “But our DNA is solid, it is ingrained; it is understood by most past players,” he said. He argued it was summed up in the motto: “Once a Dragon, always a Dragon” which implies a life-long commitment to club values and to never harm its image. Even the legendary Frank Facer, secretary of the club during 11 years of consecutive premiership success, understood the club was bigger than any individual. “Fearless” was once barred from going on an end-of-season trip because of misbehaviour on an outing the previous year. He still arrived at Central Station, carrying his bag, expecting to join his mates in a dogbox compartment, only for a committee man to produce the relevant minute of the meeting barring him. Facer picked up his case, headed home and the train steamed north to Cairns. Immortal Norm Provan, upset that former champion half Billy Smith was unable to attend a club reunion because he was barred from the venue - St George Leagues Club - threatened the club manager, Danny Robinson, to take players from his era to another location unless Smith was admitted. Robinson invited the legendary captain-coach, victor in 10 successive grand finals, to leave with his former teammates. They remained and Smith stayed barred. St George administrators always gave urgent attention to any criticism from a fan, delivered by letter or phone call. Today’s administrators also have the responsibility of answering to the internet. Johnston is working hours to rival a 7-Eleven shopkeeper in order to win back the dissatisfied, the disgruntled and the disillusioned. When the de Belin case is concluded mid-February, and the dressing room replaces the courtroom as the primary keyhole into the lives of the St George Illawarra players, the fans can be confident there are good men who will restore order to the club after a chaotic 2019.
  2. WINNER Sydney Roosters TOTAL POINTS 30 to 12 = 42 POLL 6 or 7 tries CLIVE CHURCHILL MEDAL James Tedesco STATE CHAMPIONSHIP Newtown Jets NRLW Dragons
  3. No worries mate cheers. Well done to everyone that had a go in this years NRL Survivor Comp and I will have it back up and running again, bigger and better next NRL Season.
  4. It is high time he did the right thing by the club and resigned or the board has to cut it's loses and send McGregor packing.
  5. A post-season review at St George Illawarra could claim battling coach Paul McGregor St George Illawarra’s subpar season could claim coach Paul McGregor’s job with the Dragons to embark on a post-season review which is expected to end his time at the club. St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor could be one game away from being sacked as Dragons coach. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that, despite a two-year contract extension earlier this year, officials are resigned to having to make the difficult call after a disastrous season. Dragons chief executive Brian Johnston refused to guarantee McGregor’s future when contacted. Johnston said there will be a review of the entire football department after their final game of the season against the Titans this weekend before the board will then make a decision on the coach. “Nothing has changed,” Johnston said. “There will be no decision on any position until after the review.” Sources have revealed McGregor was struggling to maintain support key powerbrokers before Sunday’s abysmal 42-14 loss to the Wests Tigers at the SCG. They will finish the season in 15th position, ahead of only the Gold Coast Titans after being tipped as a top-four side and possible premiers earlier in the season. `It is their worst finish as a joint venture. The Dragons have faced a massive social media backlash from their fans over the coaching position. McGregor is rumoured to be on $600,000-a-season which would force the Dragons to pay out $1.2 million before signing a new coach. Two names have been mentioned as possible replacements – Sydney Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon and former Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan, who still has to be cleared. McGregor could not be contacted for comment. He has coached the Dragons since 2014 when he took over from Steve Price.
  6. COWBOYS RABBITOHS BRONCOS KNIGHTS SEA EAGLES ROOSTERS RAIDERS DRAGONS TOTAL POINTS: 312 HOME WINS: 6 AWAY WINS: 2 POLL: 1
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