Josh Dugan’s teammates say he is in the form of his NRL career and most people don’t realise just how good he is.
Dugan was one of the Dragons’ best in their 42-6 flogging of Cronulla at Jubilee Oval on Sunday, playing in his second game in four days after backing up from State of Origin I.
The Dragons fullback scored one try and ran for a game-high 226 metres before being given an early mark by coach Paul McGregor in a gutsy display.
After being the Blues’ best on Wednesday night, when he ran a team-high 126 metres and set up one try, he was at it again at Kogarah on Sunday afternoon, looking damaging almost every time he touched the ball.
Dragons halfback Benji Marshall said Dugan was in the best touch of his career but most of his work was going unnoticed.
“You only have to be around training to see how much he’s changed his approach to training and professionalism,” Marshall said.
“The things he does on the field – he fights to play the ball quickly. He runs hard but you should see how he fights to play the ball and whoever is the next guy running the ball gets the benefit of that.
“And our defence, he’s the one that gets the numbers right. If he doesn’t get the numbers right, we get scored against. You can credit a lot of our defence to the way he’s going.”
McGregor said Dugan had gone to another level since being picked for Australia in the trans-Tasman Test against New Zealand.
He said Dugan’s ability to back up at club level after starring in Origin showed he was in an elite class of players.
“I think he’s got it right over a period, it hasn’t happened straight away,” McGregor said.
“I think he really built on last year’s performance.
“You have to remember he was moved from fullback to centre (last year), made a fist of it mid-year, come out of that and went back to fullback and he’s the current NSW fullback and Australian winger … Anything you want in life you’ve got to work pretty hard for it and he’s certainly worked hard at his job.”