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Josh Dugan move will be watched closely by Laurie Daley

On show: Laurie Daley will be given the chance to examine how Dugan handles defending in the front line.

On show: Laurie Daley will be given the chance to examine how Dugan handles defending in the front line. Photo: Getty Images

St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor could provide Laurie Daley with some food for thought, mulling over moving Josh Dugan to right centre for Monday night's clash against South Sydney.

McGregor hasn't wasted any time stamping his authority on the side he inherited last weekend, prepared to make the tough decisions to help lift the stuttering Dragons back into the top eight.

Benji Marshall was also considered as an option of moving to the centres to allow Adam Quinlan, who didn't play NSW Cup on Sunday afternoon, to play in the halves alongside Gareth Widdop.

But it is believed Dugan will slot into the centre position the Dragons have struggled to fill since Dylan Farrell's injury in round six, which will give Daley a rare opportunity to see how Dugan handles defending in the front line as the Blues prepare for game two without Brett and Josh Morris.

The Dragons won three of their four games this season with Quinlan in the No.1 jersey, scoring 109 points in the first four rounds of the season.

Dugan's success rate at fullback in 2014 is just one win from six appearances since returning from a knee injury suffered in the Charity Shield, with the Dragons running in 70 points in six games with the former Raiders custodian at the back.

The Morris twins are expected to miss the remainder of the Origin series, leaving Daley in search of a new right wing-centre combination for game two at ANZ Stadium on June 18.

Parramatta's Will Hopoate was considered the front-runner for the centre position vacated by Josh Morris (knee). However, a less than impressive showing for the Eels in their thumping at the hands of Penrith on Friday night has raised question marks over his Origin credentials.

Dugan, Manly's Jorge Taufua, Newcastle's James McManus and Penrith's Josh Mansour are all understood to be in the mix for the wing position made available by Brett Morris' shoulder injury in game one, while Jack Wighton, Joseph Leilua and Dugan could all play at right centre if Hopoate is overlooked or selected on the wing.

Hopoate was called into the Blues camp as 19th man for game one, but given Penrith scored six of their seven tries down his side of the field on Friday night, Daley will no doubt keep a close eye on his performance against Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys on Friday night.

Blues skipper Paul Gallen threw his support behind the selection of Hopoate at right centre, admitting he would be confident with him in the side for his first Origin game since 2011.

''I think Hoppa can do the job,'' Gallen said.

''If young Hoppa was picked, I'd have a lot of confidence in him – I really would. He's been there and done it before. The way he finished that City-Country game, he scored the last try and set up the second-last one against Jack Wighton, who is a pretty good defender. I'd be more than confident having Hoppa there.

''Josh Dugan, you could put him on the wing. Jorge Taufua is going great. McManus has been there before and played pretty well there. I'd be confident in any one of those guys if they got picked.''

The problem for Daley is that all his winger options will be playing out of position if selected for game two.

Taufua, McManus and Mansour are all left wingers, while Dugan is a specialist fullback whose defence will be put under the spotlight if he was asked to defend in the front line against prolific Origin tryscorer Darius Boyd.

Jorge Taufua (wing)
Tries: 7
Line breaks: 6
Tackle breaks: 18
Average metres: 157.4
Errors per game: 2

Josh Mansour (wing)
Tries: 9
Line breaks: 6
Tackle breaks: 62
Average metres: 173.8
Errors per game: 1.5

James McManus (wing)
Tries: 4
Line breaks: 4
Tackle breaks: 18
Average metres: 97.7
Errors per game: 1.1

Josh Dugan (wing/centre)
Tries: 1
Line breaks: 3
Tackle breaks: 36
Average metres: 154.3
Errors: 1.5

Will Hopoate (wing/centre)
Tries: 2
Line breaks: 4
Tackle breaks: 25
Average metres: 111.4
Errors per game: 0.4

Joseph Leilua (centre)
Tries: 4
Line breaks: 4
Tackle breaks: 39
Average metres:106.7
Errors per game: 2

Jack Wighton (centre)
Tries: 2
Line breaks: 3
Tackle breaks: 15
Average metres: 56
Errors per game: 1.4

Joseph Leilua
Tries: 
Line breaks: 
Tackle breaks:
Average metres: 
Errors per game:

Jack Wighton
Tries: 2
Line breaks: 3
Tackle breaks: 15
Average metres: 56
Errors per game: 1.4
 

3 comments so far

  • I would pick Dylan Walker to replace Josh Morris. Walker plays right side for Souths too. Hoppa would be my next pick after Walker. I would pick Mansour to replace Brett Morris. I would also bring Fifita and Bird straight back into the side and drop Williams and Hoffman. Fifita will add size to our pack and be great off the bench, while Bird always plays well at origin and will add even more toughness to our pack.

    Commenter
    Devout Saint
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    June 02, 2014, 1:55AM
    • Talking of right wingers, has Uate really fallen that far that he no longer even rates a mention? For a couple of years there he was almost first man picked for the Blues, and then a couple of defensive frailties in 2012 and he was out the door. Has he not attended to those question marks at all in the interim? Is he really still considered a no-go option? Another option on that side also has to be Michael Gordon, who I think would make a good fist of marking up on Boyd.

      Commenter
      GLAT
      Location
      Croydon Park
      Date and time
      June 02, 2014, 11:40AM
      • I'm wondering what Mary is thinking. Dugan gets too easily injured at fullback, and putting him more in the thick of the action is a big risk for the Dragons, let alone even remotely thinking he could do the job NSW.

        Hopefully Schnoz doesn't make the same mistake as he did last year and pick Dugan if he comes through this match unscathed. Origin is a different beast and Dugan showed in 2013 that while he's very talented as an X factor player, that he doesn't have an Origin attitude and is just too much of a destabilising influence off the field

        Commenter
        Chef
        Date and time
        June 02, 2014, 12:19PM

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