Former Dragons coach Paul McGregor has offered an insight into sacked star Paul Vaughan from his time at the club, saying leadership doesn’t come naturally to the former Test prop.
McGregor coached Vaughan for four seasons at the Dragons and while he thinks he is a good person, he doesn’t think his personality suits leadership in a football club.
Vaughan was sacked by the Dragons for hosting the infamous Covid breach party at his home and while not excusing his actions, Matty Johns believes his teammates got off lightly.
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“It is inexcusable but put it this way the disparity between his punishment and the punishment of his teammates is just huge,” Johns said on The Late Show with Matty Johns.
“I think those players can count themselves really lucky.”
“He has paid the ultimate price hasn’t he?” McGregor said.
“He’s lost his contract.”
Bryan Fletcher and Nathan Hindmarsh asked McGregor for an insight into what sort of person Vaughan is within a footy club.
“What sort of bloke is he?,” Fletcher asked.
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“Mate he is a nice kid,” McGregor said.
“I know he is 29 and he is a senior player because he has played State of Origin and for Australia, but he’s a gentle giant.
“He likes to hang around younger people. He likes to have a good time obviously. He doesn’t go outside that.”
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However Johns pressed McGregor and whether Vaughan was a leader in the time he was at the club.
“Like you say he is a senior player, but even though he is 29 Mary is he a senior player?” Johns asked.
“No, to me he is just a very good footballer,” McGregor said.
“And he doesn’t like the extra responsibility that comes with leadership and he just goes out and plays his game.”
“Which is fair enough, some people don’t,” Fletcher interjected.
“Some people don’t, it is not for everyone,” McGregor agreed.
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However Hindmarsh questioned whether Vaughan should have evolved into a stronger leader with age and his standing in the game over time at least in terms of setting an example for the younger Dragons players.
“But is that sort of like a responsibility when you get to a certain point in your career you’ve got to become that?,” Hindmarsh asked.
“Well it can be if you are getting paid that kind of money definitely that you’ve got to change your ways a little bit,” McGregor replied.
“But in saying that you can only get paid as much as someone wants to pay you.”
“Is sacking him too far?” Hindmarsh persisted.
“Well I think it is a strong statement from the board of St George Illawarra what is acceptable and not acceptable moving forward,” McGregor said.
McGregor, though, backs Vaughan to be picked up by another club with expectations he will command a lot less than his Dragons deal that was reported to be in the region of $800,000.
“He’d definitely get another club you’d think because everyone is valued as a certain price and someone will get a footballer … He can certainly play the game.
“He’ll get another club, where that is I’m not sure.”