Dugan reveals horror preparation
Josh Dugan is wrapped up by the Panthers' defence on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images
He’s had his fair share of injury woes, but when Josh Dugan was vomiting and floored by a high fever late last week, he knew something was seriously wrong.
The Canberra Raiders fullback was in so much distress, he checked himself into hospital and was placed on an intravenous drip.
Diagnosed with a lip infection, the 22-year-old had emergency surgery in one of the scariest moments of his life.
Lying on your back in hospital, with medication pumping through his veins, was hardly the ideal preparation for the 32-degree heat at Penrith on Sunday.
After Canberra’s 32-10 loss, its mood was summed up by the sight of Dugan wincing in pain with rib cartilage damage.
He is in real doubt for next Sunday’s clash on the Gold Coast, and also had ice strapped to his left thigh he corked during the game.
While his rib injury is painful, it’s nothing compared to the late night panic he endured last week.
“I was in fevers and that sort of thing, and vomiting as well,’’ Dugan said.
“I rang our doc to see what he thought and he said to check into hospital, and they put me on a drip and sent me home. That night I had fevers again so I called the doc again and he booked me in for emergency surgery the next morning.
“They drained the abcess, and I spent two-and-half-days in hospital on an IV drip with antibiotics to get right on top of it.’’
Dugan said his rib issue is the injury in most danger of sidelining him for next week’s trip to the Titans.
“It’s more my ribs, I felt it every time I ran the ball,’’ Dugan said.
“It rattled me a little bit, but I just had to tough it out and get through the rest of the game.’’
The stifling heat, combined with the fact he had hardly played or trained for two weeks, caught up with Dugan.
He was virtually a passenger after suffering the injury midway through the first half.
The Raiders have worked hard on their on-line defence, and it showed when they defended wave after wave of Penrith attack after committing plenty of early errors.
But the energy-sapping conditions eventually took their toll.
“He certainly wasn’t as sharp as we would have liked, and I think that [injury] played a big part in it,’’ Raiders coach David Furner said.
“We need to have a look at Duges and see how he pulls up.’’
Reece Robinson missed Sunday’s match with back spasms, but is expected to return next week and would be a ready-made fullback replacement for Dugan if he’s ruled out.
Canberra’s outside backs made a pact they wouldn’t shave off their beards until the side had lost three games this year.
Dugan hinted that superstitution could meet an early death.
“They could be gone next week,’’ he said.