With the NRL season commencing tomorrow night, in what is sure to be an exciting clash between the Parramatta Eels and the Brisbane Broncos, players have naturally gone through positional switches. Whether it’s for revitalisation, new team strategy or even experimental purposes. One move that was a relative success, was Josh Dugan’s move into the centres in 2014. It did cater to his attacking abilities, scoring several tries in that position, but the Dragons struggled heavily offensively and defensively that whole year.
In 2015, Josh Dugan was shifted back to his custodian role of fullback. Throughout the year he bedazzled with his kick-returns and running during broken play. He once again, staked his claim as one of the game’s premier fullbacks, quickly reclaiming the NSW Blues No. 1 jumper, vacated by NFL-convert Jarryd Hayne. Arguably the best performing player, in an underwhelming NSW side, Josh Dugan set up one of the greatest Origin tries you’ll ever see, in the first game of the series last year. He eventually went on to be nominated at the Dally M Awards for Best Representative Player, the sole New South Welshman amongst the more experienced group of Queenslanders. He was awarded with the Brad Fittler Medal for best NSW Blues player of the series — an award that is determined by teammates and coaching staff.
At the end of the season, St. George-Illawarra scraped into the top 8 albeit their impressive defensive effort all year. In a losing effort, the Dragons went down to the Canterbury Bulldogs in extra time, concluding one of the most thrilling contests of the season. In his first big finals test as a matured footballer, Josh Dugan put forward a tremendous effort from the back, registering 5 tackle breaks and accumulating 281 running metres, the most of any player on the field.
For most of the 2015 NRL season, Josh Dugan battled through niggling injuries and was not at a hundred percent for most of the year. With his neck surgery a success, he has proclaimed his fitness and readiness for 2016. If a Dugan coping with injury is destructive, it’s a safe bet to assume a healthy version would surely surpass that level of potential. Let’s just hope we get to see him in the role that made him a phenomenon, one that he’s entrusted to wear at state-level, one that statistically sees him on par with some of the game’s greats: fullback.