NRL 2020: Incredible scenes in Dragons coach Paul McGregor’s final game win over Eels

The St George Illawarra Dragons have given departing coach Paul McGregor a fitting send off against the Parramatta Eels with a gutsy 14-12 victory.

McGregor was shown the door earlier in the week despite having another year to run on his contract but took the reins for the final time against the Eels.

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It appeared to inspire the side to a thrilling victory at Bankwest Stadium with incredible scenes post match as players ran up to hug and share the moment with beaming McGregor.

While it was somewhat expected that Parramatta would make short work of the Dragons, with 20 minutes remaining, the Dragons kicked a penalty goal after a high tackle to make it 12-all in what had been a “torrid” match, according to the Fox League commentators.

A wet game made handling somewhat difficult but the Dragons were switched on, ending a three-game losing streak to send McGregor out a winner.

The final 20 minutes were controversial and mesmerising with one try disallowed for each side.

The first was the Dragons‘ Kaide Ellis. Ben Hunt kicked the ball into the Eels’ Reed Mahoney, with the ball ricocheting for the charging Ellis.

But on replay, it was taken off the forward with Parramatta‘s Junior Paulo touching the ball as Ellis made the slightest bobble.

Hand of god to steal the try from the Dragons.Source:FOX SPORTS

On Fox League, Michael Ennis said: “You can‘t take this off the big man, you can’t do it to him.”

On Channel 9, Phil Gould again took aim at the bunker for looking for any reason to deny a try.

“They make it too complicated,” Gould said. ”They look for too much. You don‘t referee the game with a magnifying glass.

“I must be getting too old. That‘s a try in any era, in any decade. In any era! They look for the one-percent chance to overrule things, they really do.

“It‘s kind of like they want to find something none of us can see. Don’t start me. I’m going for a walk.”

But Mahoney was off-side and the Dragons kicked ahead 14-12.

Mahoney almost became a hero at the other end of the field after he was the only onside player for a Blake Ferguson kick with the Eels dummy half diving full length and grounding the ball just on the dead ball line.

So close from Reid Mahoney.Source:FOX SPORTS

While the Eels were slammed for their performance, with Channel 9’s Brad Fittler saying the Eels didn’t throw much at the Dragons s with their halves “non-existent”, most of the plaudit went to the Dragon for sending their coach out a winner.

An oddly jubilant McGregor even smiled while fronting the media. Asked how he was emotions were, he said “they’re good now”.

“They were unsettled yesterday morning and a little bit today,” he said. “But once I got to the game I just really wanted to enjoy it with the players.

“It was a nice way to finish my career with the club. the players are pretty emotional in there. There was a lot of talk that they weren’t playing for me but was too far from the truth and they showed that tonight.

“We had a little presentation in there and Cam (McInnes) presented me his jumper which is probably one of the best presents I’ve ever got in my life from a person that I admire the way he plays the game and leads the club.”

Asked if there were tears, McGregor said there were “too many in the last 48 hours”.

Cam McInnes gave McGregor his jersey.Source:Fox Sports

But social media was thrilled for McGregor with social media going nuts for the departing coach.

That was the grittiest Dragons performance I’ve seen in a while🐉
A performance fitting for the character of Paul McGregor. No one can question his determination & integrity. #NRLEelsDragons

It’s Mary McGregor’s final miracle #NRLEelsDragons

Classic Dragons. Classic Parramatta. Two clubs doing their best and worst selves in this Covid world. #NRLEelsDragons

Hail Mary. Great to see a top bloke like him walk away with a W. Shame that @NRL_Dragons team didn’t play like that for him every week. Some of that is on him. Most is on his players. Hope he gets another gig. Not sure he will but good luck with what happens next. #NRLEelsDragons

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