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Pressure mounts on Dragons and McGregor as Titans circle dumped Dufty

The Titans are keen to add depth to a back line missing injured half AJ Brimson for the season and are eyeing off Dufty and Wests Tigers utility Corey Thompson as potential options should they become available.

One potential outcome is Thompson shifting north to free up a spot at the Tigers for Saab, a switch that would result in the smallest winger in the competition being replaced with the tallest. However, Dufty is also on the radar of Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook, who believes his speed could be just what the side requires to break its own winless streak.

Matt Dufty could become the next Dragon wanting out of the club.

Matt Dufty could become the next Dragon wanting out of the club.Credit:AAP

The Dragons have knocked back Saab’s initial release request, although the parties are expected to meet this week.

Boom rookie Saab won’t have any trouble finding a new club if he becomes a free agent. The NSW under-20s star has fielded interest from the Tigers, Bulldogs, Storm, Rabbitohs and Sharks after news broke that he wants out.

The potential departures are hardly a ringing endorsement for McGregor, whose only two wins in the past 13 games have come against wooden spooners Gold Coast. The former Blues centre is just three games into a two-year deal worth $700,000 a season, meaning the Dragons would face the prospect of a $1 million payout – and the expense of finding his replacement – if they were to sack him now.

As revealed by the Herald last week, McGregor has a Trent Barrett-style clause in his contract that gives the parties a six-month notice period should they wish to part company, but the earliest it can be triggered is January 1, 2021. In doing so, St George Illawarra could save themselves about $300,000 if he left in June of next year, but it remains to be seen if he will last that long.

A board meeting is scheduled for June 16, at which McGregor’s future will undoubtedly be the main topic of discussion. He is banking on the injection of debutant halfback Adam Clune to make a difference to a star-studded side that is failing to fire.

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Just 18 months ago, McGregor hailed a team that included Ben Hunt, Paul Vaughan, Tariq Sims, Cameron McInnes, James Graham and Tyson Frizell as “the best squad I’ve coached”, but the results have nosedived, even after Norman and was added to the roster.

McGregor’s counterpart in the coaching box on Monday, Dean Pay, is also under pressure after a winless start to the season. The calls for the losing clipboard holder to be punted will grow louder after the encounter, even though there isn’t an obvious replacement for either club to turn to.

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