Hunt, Norman must challenge line: Walters

Queensland coach Kev Walters has urged Ben Hunt (pic) and Corey Norman to ignite their running game.
Queensland coach Kev Walters has urged Ben Hunt (pic) and Corey Norman to ignite their running game.

Queensland coach Kevin Walters has urged Ben Hunt and Corey Norman to find their running game to help revive St George Illawarra's season and in turn alleviate the pressure on coach Paul McGregor.

McGregor's future remained under the spotlight on Monday, after the Dragons' winless start to the season and 18-0 loss to the Warriors.

The Saints coach remains a popular figure in Wollongong, but the Dragons' fan base is known for being one of the most unforgiving and vocal in the NRL.

There is also a feeling from some that his players have let him down.

The Dragons' middle failed to force an error from the Warriors in the first 42 sets, while Hunt and Norman lacked impact in attack.

Hunt had just two runs from 65 possessions, while Corey Norman took the line on six times in his 80 minutes.

"Ben Hunt's biggest asset is his running game, and I have been telling everyone that for years," Walters, who has coached both of the pair in Origin, told Sky Sports Radio.

"(The six-again rule) is perfect for those two. Corey Norman is a great runner of the ball too.

"The message from me would be clear to both those players - challenge the line.

"You'll get some good results on the back of it."

McGregor has been gifted a friendly draw over a crucial next few weeks.

They play the winless Canterbury next Monday, while Cronulla follow after losing their first three games.

The Dragons' next board meeting is scheduled for June 16, with a match against the struggling Gold Coast to follow.

If St George Illawarra powerbrokers were to consider making a move on the coaching role, it would have to come at a cost.

McGregor is signed until the end of next year after inking a two-year extension early last year, on a deal reported to be worth $750,000 a season.

Any change in coaching would mean he would have to be paid out, with no obvious experienced choice waiting in the wings.

Assistant Shane Flanagan cannot resume a head-coaching job until 2022, leaving Dean Young as the only real logical choice from within.

Wayne Bennett's name has previously been linked to the club, but there is no indication that the Dragons have made any serious approach.

The veteran mentor is signed with South Sydney until the end of next year, but the Rabbitohs have already confirmed his current contract will be his last there.

Meanwhile all eyes will be on McGregor's team list on Tuesday afternoon, amid calls for reshuffle of the spine and Hunt playing as a dummy-half off the bench.

Assuming Hunt does still retain the No.7 jersey, McGregor could opt to return Issac Luke to the bench or blood exciting playmaker Adam Clune as an interchange utility.

Australian Associated Press