THE Dragons were desperate for two competition points - but they could've done without the two they took just three minutes into Monday's loss to the Bulldogs.
Corey Norman, shifted to fullback after a poor showing against the Warriors last week, started confidently, splitting the Dogs open with a clever chip and chase.
His side, headlined by Albion Park-Oak Flats product Adam Clune on debut, were on the front foot, a try and strong start beckoned... and the Dragons took the two points.
They were a gimme, but it wasn't what they needed.
It told the story of a side so low on confidence, so low on belief and so out of sorts with the footy, they were almost relieved to point to the posts.
They didn't go close to the Dogs line again for the remainder of the half.
The Bulldogs, under a mountain of pressure themselves, grabbed the first try and never looked back.
The 22-2 loss to a side previously so badly out of sorts themselves their own coach was under pressure, leaves the Dragons, also featuring Gerringong's Tariq Sims and Shellharbour's Trent Merrin, carrying the indignity of remaining the only win-less side after four rounds.
It may prove terminal for McGregor. With two years to run on his deal, and with money tight in COVID 19-shortened season, it was only a disaster that would prompt the famously pragmatic Dragons board to move on the coach.
It's hard to see how two post-shut down losses to sides that have copped nothing but touch-ups themselves constitutes anything else.
Once again they looked one-out and without ideas with the footy, while it's hard to recall a player carrying a heavier mental burden than million-dollar man Ben Hunt.
Norman, for his part, had a dig at number one but couldn't spark his side, while the cardboard cutouts showed more enthusiasm in the second half.
The Sharks await next week and the Titans beyond that. On form the perennial battling Titans might start favourites for the first time in two seasons after breaking their own duck on Sunday night.
Whether McGregor's still there for that one remains to be seen, with a June 16 board meeting looming as D-Day.
"I like to think not but the performance you just watched, and I just coached, wasn't good enough," McGregor said on Fox Sports when asked if he'd coached his last game for the club.
"I can only control what I can, that's go to work again and do the best in the conditions that exist at the moment.
"I'm at optimist, but I'm a realist as well, so I understand the situation we're in.
"My focus is always going to be on my team and my club until the decision's made, if they make one.
"I'm not afraid [of being sacked] but I'm understanding if the decision's made."
Asked if he still had the support of his players, McGregor said:
"Absolutely - I understand the criticism that I'm under, I get it, but when the criticism starts coming from my players and my staff.
"I haven't got that at the moment.
"I'm not a quitter.
"You don't quit on people you believe in and have confidence in and when you have enthusiasm for job - no chance."
The third minute penalty goal was the Dragons only foray into the Bulldogs 20-metre zone in the opening half before Tathra's Adam Elliott carried three Dragons defenders over the line for the opening try.
Nick Meaney converted for a 6-2 lead after 22 minutes.
He extended the margin to a converted try with a penalty goal six minutes later.
The sorry half continued when the Dragons were pinged for being offside off a line dropout, with Meaney grabbing his second freebie from in front of the posts for an eight-point cushion at the break.
Meaney crossed and converted 10 minutes into the second stanza for a 14-point lead that effectively put the match to bed.
Jordan Pereira was denied by the bunker in the Dragons only flirtation with the try-line, with Reimis Smith pulling down a kick from Lachlan Lewis for the last four-pointer with 10 minutes to play.
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