Josh Dugan says he and Test teammate Blake Ferguson finally turned the page on their infamous rooftop drinking session in last week’s win over New Zealand.
Not only that, they hope to replicate that form for NSW in this year’s State of Origin series.
Three years after Dugan and Ferguson were criticised for downing drinks on a Canberra rooftop while playing for the Raiders, the duo reminded everyone of the damage they could do on the field.
Partnered on Australia’s right edge, the pair terrorised the Kiwis’ left side defence all night, with Ferguson showing how lethal a target he is in the air during the Kangaroos’ 16-0 win at Hunter Stadium.
Dugan is confident their combination would be transferable to the Origin arena.
“I definitely think we can,” Dugan said.
“We defended well all game and we handled everything the Kiwis threw at us. If it’s a sign of anything to come, I think we can handle it against the Maroons.”
Dugan was delighted to watch his former Raiders teammate enjoy a triumphant first Test.
The reborn Ferguson sealed Australia’s win with a try late in the match.
“We’ve always had that bond, and we’ve always been good mates,” he said.
“He’s deserved that jersey, but to see him score on debut, it’s something special. That’s the final chapter for us – now we can move on with everything and keep playing good footy.”
Dugan’s successful outing with Ferguson, together with an injury to Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco, is likely to enhance the chances of Penrith captain Matt Moylan wearing the Blues No.1 for game one.
The main problem for Blues selectors now is in the halves, with speculation incumbent playmaker Mitchell Pearce has requested not to be picked as he continues to address his alcohol issues.
His plea could result on him being banned from club duties, however Blues prop Aaron Woods urged the governing body to consider the circumstances.
“You don’t want to put too much pressure on the man. He’s been out for a while, he’s had a few problems, but that’s his way of building to get over it. I applaud him for making that decision,” he said.
“You’ve got to take the situation with it as well. It’s not as if he’s going out there and saying he doesn’t want to play Origin. He’s doing it for a reason.”