Axing Josh Morris could be the toughest selection decision of NSW boss Laurie Daley’s State of Origin coaching career, says the player in line to take the Canterbury star’s Blues right centre spot if he does go – Josh Dugan.
After a successful outing in last week’s Kangaroos Test win over New Zealand, Dugan and Blake Ferguson are firming to be chosen on the Blues left edge for Origin I in Sydney on June 29.
Such a move from Daley, who has coached NSW since 2013, would push Morris out of the side.
Morris has been a mainstay of the Blues line-up for the past four seasons but has been down on form for the inconsistent Bulldogs this season.
“J Moz (Morris) has been one of NSW’s best for the past five years and it would be a tough decision for Loz (Daley) to make,” Dugan said.
“But I’m sure he will come up with the right one and whoever does play there will be deserved of that spot and they won’t let anyone down.
Dugan has played two of his Origin games under Daley at centre, the rest have been at fullback.
The St George Illawarra star said he believed his combination with former Canberra teammate Ferguson would work for NSW.
“I felt like the combination in the Test was pretty good and there’s no reason it would not work in Origin if we are picked there,” Dugan said.
“I have played both positions at club level and both positions at Origin level too, wherever Loz plays me I will be happy to play there.”
A move for Dugan to centre could open the way for Penrith captain Matt Moylan to make his NSW debut at fullback.
“There has been a call for the ball-playing fullback for a while now but a lot of people don’t realise that Origin is a yardage game,” Dugan said.
“There is a lot of back and forth and kick returns and if he does go with the ball playing fullback then we will just have to see how we go.
“My yardage game has always been pretty good, I have always tried to bring the ball back as hard and fast as I can and the rest falls into place.”
The selection of Josh Mansour on the wing for his NSW debut could help Moylan with that yardage alongside Ferguson, Dugan and Michael Jennings.