Josh Dugan has urged Andrew Fifita to find inspiration in the Kangaroos jersey as the Cronulla prop ponders his future in rugby league.
Fifita said last week he was exploring the possibility of a switch to rugby union because he feared the NRL could rip up his playing contract at any moment.
The Sharks premiership winner was banned from selection from coach Mal Meninga’s 24-man Australian Four Nations squad because of off-field issues.
Dugan, who played in Australia’s 26-6 win over New Zealand in Perth on Saturday, has walked a similar path to Fifita.
The St George Illawarra star’s future in the NRL was up in the air after he was sacked by Canberra at the start of 2013.
But the 26-year-old Dugan has since redeemed himself and he said Fifita could use the lure of the green and gold jersey to win his way back as he did, when asked what advice he would give the out of favour NSW representative.
He said Meninga urged his troops to be the best on and off the field.
“That is for all of us and any players who might be in a bit of trouble,” Dugan told AAP.
“To me personally that hits home because of the dramas I did have a few years ago and the way I did turn things around.
“I do see myself as a leader now at the Dragons and the more rep jersey I earn the more I see myself as earning the respect and leadership.”
Dugan said he understood what Fifita was going through.
“When I was younger I always wanted to play for my country,” Dugan said.
“It was tough not being able to play footy for one and losing the realisation of that dream and possibly never playing football for my country.
“It was heartbreaking. I know what that is like.
“But I put my head down and I got the chance to play footy again and Origin followed and I got to make my Australian debut.
“It is something that I cherish dearly, playing for Australia and I am looking forward to the weeks ahead.”