NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley will give injured star Josh Dugan every chance to prove his fitness for game two, according to St George Illawarra mentor Paul McGregor.
Dugan is just one week into a four-week recovery from elbow surgery that forced him to pull out of their series-opener just four days before kickoff.
However Dugan has since been working around the clock in a bid to make a final attempt to play in Brisbane.
“I could never write him off. You’re never sure with Josh. He’s a competitor. He’ll give himself every chance. He could make it, definitely,” McGregor said on Friday.
A former assistant to Daley for the Blues, McGregor revealed he had spoken to the under-pressure mentor prior to game one on how to approach the upcoming Origin series.
He is certain Daley would be calling Dugan on his current status.
“I’m sure he’d be in contact. Josh has been a major player for the Blues for a number of years, and one of the first picked due to the fact that he can play multiple positions,” McGregor said.
“He’s dominated Origin at fullback, so I’m sure if he’s available he’ll certainly come into the picture, because if I’m a coach, I’m looking to put my best players in a must-win situation.”
McGregor said Dugan just started to get the range back in his arm.
“He’s keen to give himself every opportunity to either play on that Wednesday night or play the following week with us,” he said.
“I wouldn’t rule anything out. He’s a good healer. He come back from his neck a lot earlier. He hasn’t missed many games of footy in the last 18 months as well.”
Lafai said Dugan had progressed well in his recovery.
“I think he’s related to Wolverine. Hopefully we can get him out there as soon as possible,” he said.
Daley names his team at fulltime of Monday’s NRL game between Cronulla and North Queensland.