Paul McGregor said he plans to throw everything into his role as Brad Fittler’s new assistant for next year’s State of Origin campaign as he makes a return to elite coaching after splitting with the Dragons.
McGregor, a former roommate of Fittler during their days as Origin teammates, will take on the role vacated by incoming Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon, who will dedicate his time to his first full-time NRL head coaching gig.
Fittler sounded out McGregor about joining the Blues’ brains trust alongside Greg Alexander and Danny Buderus, his first position with a senior team since his St George Illawarra reign ended in 2020.
He was due to coach NSW’s under-19s side against Queensland this year, but the match was abandoned due to the COVID outbreak forcing Origin III to the Gold Coast at the 11th hour.
“Freddy and myself are very similar,” McGregor told the Herald. “We’re very determined, down-to-earth individuals and place ambition as one of our highest qualities and virtues.
“I’m just there to be an influencer of his vision. I’m going to be a sounding board and give an opinion when he wants it, but coach Fittler will be making the decisions.
“I have great memories of Origin as a player during the 90s, which we had success in. I’ve been involved in different series during the 2000s as a staff member and I bring a wealth of experience as an assistant coach and head coach over many years with the Dragons.
“What I do know is a happy football team is a high-performing football team and they seem very happy when they’re playing and around each other.”