Steve Price's reign at the Dragons has ended.

Steve Price's reign at the Dragons has ended. Photo: Getty Images

St George Illawarra coach Steve Price has been sacked by the Dragons. Former Dragons captain Paul McGregor will take over the position until at least the end of the season.

Dragons CEO Peter Doust confirmed in a media release on Monday morning that McGregor would takeover after the club's board resolved not to exercise an option to extend Price's contract for 2015.

"Steve Price has been involved at our club for over 13 years. He is a person of the highest integrity who has contributed enormously to our club in so many ways throughout this time," said Doust.

"Unfortunately team performance and results have not met the required standards, particularly this season, despite a refresh of performance management strategies and structure, at the end of last year, and a significant change to the playing roster.

"Whilst we can never predict the future, the board determined that change was required for the balance of the 2014 season.

Price thanked the Dragons for the opportunities the club provided him.

“I am grateful for the opportunities that the Dragons have provided me over all my years associated with the club and would like to thank all involved,” said Price. “I’d like to wish Paul [McGregor] and the playing group all the very best”.

McGregor said it was a difficult time to take over at the Dragons.

“The board wanted the change to be as simple as possible for the players and for their sake I agreed,” said McGregor. “This is a difficult situation for me, Steve Price is a good friend of mine and we have worked closely together and I would have liked us to work through these tough times as one."

McGregor has returned to Wollongong, after leaving the NSW Blues Origin on Sunday, for Dragons training this week in preparation for next Monday night's game against the Rabbitohs, although he will fulfil his Origin duties in Brisbane on Wednesday night.

The Dragons will now begin the search for a permanent head coach for next season.

Price has been under considerable pressure in recent weeks after the Dragons slumped to six losses in their past seven games. He had a contract until the end of this season with the club having an option on his services for next year.

Dragons players were told of Price’s axing early on Monday morning. 

He was granted a one year extension early last year. The Dragons started the year well winning their opening three games.

NSW Origin forward Trent Merrin expressed surprise at the decision in Brisbane on Monday morning.

I'm surprised about it all. It's a shame that it has happened to him. I have been under him since-20s. I've had a lot to do with Pricey," Trent Merrin said.

"He is a mate as well as a coach.

"It's come as a surprise. I think we have to move on and we have a job to do for the Dragons."

It is the first time a St George Illawarra coach has left mid-season since the joint-venture’s inaugural coach David Waite in 2000.