The Raiders have a tough decision to make on Josh Dugan on Thursday. Photo: Colleen Petch
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Raiders chairman John McIntyre has called on star fullback Josh Dugan to end his exile from the club and front Thursday's board meeting to explain why Canberra should stick by him.
But the stand-off between Dugan and the Raiders continued on Wednesday, with speculation Dugan has been exploring potential options in the NRL, UK Super League and international rugby union.
Raiders chairman John McIntyre. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
Dugan was seen in Sydney on Wednesday and has not spoken with Raiders officials since Monday, when he had a heated confrontation with Raiders coach David Furner.
Dugan and teammate Blake Ferguson are suspended indefinitely after they skipped training on Monday and were caught drinking on the rooftop of Ferguson's Nicholls home.
Thursday's board meeting will be attended by NRL chief executive David Smith and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant, who had been invited by the club more than a month ago.
Although the rugby league bosses will not be part of the disciplinary process, it's understood Raiders board members intend to quiz them about whether Dugan and Ferguson would be de-registered from the NRL this season should they be sacked or walk out on the club.
It would appear there is little chance the NRL would prevent either player joining another club given they have not done anything illegal.
As of last night, neither Dugan nor Ferguson had indicated if they would be at Thursday's board meeting.
It would appear that Dugan's relationship with the club and senior teammates has deteriorated to the point that he may have played his last game with the Raiders.
But McIntyre implored both Dugan and Ferguson to present their cases to the board. ''I'd like to think they did, whether they do it on their own or in the company of their managers that's another issue,'' McIntyre said. ''If this is right about personal issues [with Dugan], we would like to hear what those personal issues are and find ways of getting him through it so he can go forward.''
David Furner will address the board, including recommendations from his senior players and an update on the club's internal investigation into the behaviour of Dugan and Ferguson.
But McIntyre suggested the board would not make an immediate decision on the futures of Dugan and Ferguson.
''We just want to hear the bottom-line,'' McIntyre said. ''I wouldn't want to pre-empt what other board members might think.
''In terms of making a decision for the future, I just think [Thursday] is far too soon for that. There's a due process we've got to go through.''
The Raiders sacked star playmaker Todd Carney in 2008 for repeated off-field infringements with alcohol, but McIntyre said Dugan's case was different. ''Todd Carney was over a much longer period of time. I think Josh Dugan's a fair way off from that sort of thing,'' McIntyre said.
Raiders chief executive Don Furner said the club had not received any backlash from sponsors in the wake of this latest off-field incident. ''I've spoken to the major sponsors and they've got full faith in us dealing with players and they've relayed that to me,'' he said.
The Raiders board also want an update on ASADA's investigation into NRL doping from Smith and Grant.
The Raiders were one of six NRL clubs named in the Australian Crime Commissions report into organised crime and drugs in sport. But Don Furner was adamant the Raiders would not face the same scrutiny given to Cronulla and Manly. ''There'll be nothing like what has been remotely suggested of other clubs occur at our club,'' he said.