But two wins in as many weeks is exactly what the doctor ordered for the embattled Dragons, whose club assembled an emergency board meeting just 10 days ago to decide the fate of the coach.
“It was a win. We wanted to build on last week but there is definitely improvement in us. There’s a lot of work to do but when you’re not playing your best and you are winning, that’s important,” McGregor said.
“The changes have been effective after the last couple of weeks. It’s good when your important people have the finesse to execution to finish off.”
If it was the final game for front-row stalwart James Graham, at least he can depart on a good note. He is headed back to his native England to link with St Helens and put in a spirited shift off the interchange bench.
The Dragons didn’t emerge unscathed, with Adam Clune leaving late in the second half after taking a heavy head knock and winger Jordan Pereira on report for a late and high tackle on new Titans recruit Corey Thompson early in the first half. It looked serious enough for him to be worried in the wash-up.
The Gold Coast aren’t a team that can be accused of lacking effort but class is another matter. Ash Taylor was tackling his heart out but couldn’t put keep his kicks in play when they did have some decent changes to draw first blood in the opening exchanges.
By that stage, the Dragons had produced some ordinary play of there own, including failing to set an attacking scrum in time and conceding a penalty, but were able to steady things more effectively than their opponents to take a 14-2 lead at half-time and remain in control under the siren.
Thompson (HIA), Phillip Sami (hamstring) and Young Tonumaipea (knee) were all casualties and the Gold Coast ended the afternoon with just the one serviceable player on their bench. This could have been a rout, and they hung around long enough to score the final try through Tanah Boyd.
Taylor gave the Titans the early lead but 2-0 was as good as things would look on the scoreboard. The Dragons were taking plenty of time to get into their work and it was looking ragged, with passes going to ground and errors from key hands, like those of Corey Norman.
But they would soon get their heads in the game, forcing multiple restarts for Zac Lomax to score, before Mikaele Ravalawa went over untouched in the corner to give his side a 12-point advantage at the break.
Pereira went over six minutes after the break and that would prove to be more than enough against the Gold Coast, who were outgunned and running out of players. They must now reset for a derby against the Broncos next week, which will be intriguing enough given the pressure on the more glamorous member of the south-east Queensland NRL contingent.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 20 (Z Lomax J Pereira M Ravalawa tries Z Lomax 4 goals) bt GOLD COAST 8 (T Boyd try A Taylor 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Chris Sutton.