AAP Rugby

McInnes wants Young’s fight in Dragons

By AAP Newswire

Cameron McInnes won't be there for Dean Young's first day in charge but the St George Illawarra skipper is certain the coach's steely resolve makes him the right man to lead the Dragons.

The heart and soul of the Saints on the field, McInnes gave departing mentor Paul McGregor the jersey off his back as his parting gift on Friday night.

It began a big week for the Dragons hooker.

McInnes' fiancee Rachel is due to give birth to the pair's second child on Monday, the same day Young will lead his first session in Wollongong.

"Deano's a tough man but I think he will give me that one," McInnes said.

"It will be an exciting day for me and my partner, I'm looking forward to it."

McInnes was as rattled as any player by McGregor's exit and for a long time has been one of his closest allies.

He credits him with turning his career around, bringing him from South Sydney where he was struggling for game time at the end of 2016.

"He gave me my first jersey at the club and the last time I played under him I wanted him to have my last jersey with him as my coach," McInnes said.

"I owe him everything.

"Mary always had faith and belief in me. Even when others didn't as much he still wanted to bring me to the club.

"And the way my life has turned out since I came to the Dragons.

"My partner and I are engaged, we've bought a house, we have a baby.

"I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason and since him bringing me to the club I feel very blessed."

But McInnes is as aware as anyone time won't stand still for the Dragons after McGregor.

On the field, the captain won't ask Young to move him back to hooker - insistent he is happy playing at lock or dummy-half.

The club is already beginning their search for a new coach, while Young can prove his case with three big weeks against the struggling Queensland clubs.

But in Young the Dragons have a man players already know well, having been on McGregor's coaching staff since his first full pre-season in charge in 2015 after being a part of the club's 2010 title success.

"The way he played as a footballer, he brings that work ethic and that toughness as a coach as well," McInnes said.

"As a player he would be the first to admit that his game wasn't built on talent, it was built on hard work and he drives that message into us players every day.

"It's a very good message because even (against Parramatta), there was nothing special about that game tonight.

"It was just about hard work, it was just about getting the win. That's the biggest thing, his toughness. He obviously got that from his old man (Craig)."