Josh Dugan’s versatility could emerge as a trump card for NSW in this year’s State of Origin series following a a series of injuries which have hit at the Blues’ outside backs.
Dugan successfully transferred from centre to fullback in the Blues’ drought-breaking series win last year.
He was keen to stay in the frontline for St George Illawarra in 2015, but was moved back to fullback by coach Paul McGregor.
The 24-year-old has been a key figure in the Dragons’ three successive victories to kick-start their premiership campaign and remains well and truly in NSW coach Laurie Daley’s plans ahead of Origin I in Sydney on May 27.
Daley said Dugan is in line to replace Jarryd Hayne in the Blues No.1 jersey as they chase back-to-back series wins for the first time since 2005.
He’s not the only contender for that role however, with Manly’s Brett Stewart and Penrith’s Matt Moylan also catching Daley’s eye this year.
The hamstring injury to Brett Morris has put a dent in Daley’s plans with the Canterbury fullback sure to have been one of the first picked on the right wing.
Parramatta’s versatile back Will Hopoate, who scored a try on debut from the wing in 2011, looms as a possible replacement.
But this is where Dugan’s versatility comes in.
In the event of injury or poor form, he could cover for Josh Morris and Michael Jennings in the centres, play at fullback or even on the wing, even alternating during games.
“I have always loved playing fullback,” Dugan said.
“I was excited about playing in the centres because I felt I could improve there a lot more.
“But fullback is my position and I will keep centre for the back pocket too.
“I guess it goes to show I have a bit of versatility and I can play a few positions
“It definitely doesn’t hurt it is just another feather in the cap.”