JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Josh Dugan on off-season odyssey to maturity for St George Illawarra

Settled: Josh Dugan.

Settled: Josh Dugan. Photo: John Veage

Some might say this story has been written before. The statements by Josh Dugan that he is ready to make good on his talent, to curb his habit of throwing his potential away, how he is feeling as good as he ever has.

Parts of it have been said before, no doubt. But one aspect has not. How he has, without much fuss in the off-season, been training.

''That's been good fun - just trying to get that upper hand, going into the tough part of the year,'' Dugan said on Friday.

It will not surprise many to know this is the first time Dugan, sacked by the Raiders early last season before being given a lifeline by the Dragons, has gone to such lengths during his time off.

''I've just cruised by - had my time off,'' Dugan said. ''I'm just looking forward to seeing how it's changed.''

Other things have, apparently, changed him. His little boy, Jackson, born in July and being raised in Brisbane by his former partner, has settled him. The 23-year-old also says his sacking was the ''kick up the bum'' he needed, admitting he was getting by on ''raw talent'' and little more in recent years.

''It's really matured me, and I feel like it's made me a better person,'' he said. ''Canberra was my home town, and I had all my family there. As much as I miss my family, [the move] has made me a better person. I've matured a lot. I feel as though I'm very settled.''

While he feels settled, the career of former drinking buddy Blake Ferguson is not. Dugan was sacked after repeated misdemeanours, including his infamous rooftop drinking session with the centre. Ferguson has not played since the pair's Origin reunion turned sour.

Dugan says he wishes his former Raiders teammate ''all the best''. ''You learn from your mistakes,'' Dugan said. ''He seems to be on the right track now with his training for the boxing fight. I wish him all the best. I've had a little bit of contact with him, but we're both in new lives now, new chapters.''

Dugan, meanwhile, expects to be bigger as well as better next season. He stepped on the scales this week at 101 kilograms, his heaviest playing weight, which is part of a ploy to make him even more of a strike weapon from the back.

''I've put on a couple of kilos. I've kept my fitness, so I'm just looking to get back and hopefully keep my speed and agility with the few extra kilos,'' Dugan said.

The NSW fullback's late-season broken thumb also allowed him to have a niggling ankle problem, which had been troubling him since 2010, cleaned out.

''I've had it cleaned out three times. Hopefully, third time's a charm and I don't have to worry about it again too much,'' Dugan said. ''I'm feeling 100 per cent fit. I've trained pretty much the whole off-season. I'm just looking forward to getting back around the boys.''

Those boys, who begin pre-season training on Monday, are looking forward to seeing what the new and hopefully improved Dugan can do.

''He seems to be going great,'' skipper Ben Creagh said. ''He's been great ever since he came to the club, really … I think he's taken this opportunity with both hands and he's kicked on. The confidence he brought to the side, and the X-factor, we were missing. It worries other sides.

''I think he knows now how big an influence he is, not only on older guys in the team, but a lot of younger guys in the squad, too.

''I think he knows now that he's a role model, he's a leader, and he's got to act like that. He's doing a great job.''

2 comments so far

  • The jury is still well and truly out when it comes to Dugan......
    he needs some 12 months without any "atrocities"

    Baxter Creampuff
    Date and time
    November 15, 2013, 11:23PM
    • I agree, consistency is the key here. I've been a big fan of Duges but have been let at times by his behaviour. One thing I do know is if being a Father doesn't smarten him up nothing will. Hopefully he proves all the haters wrong. looking forward to seeing how he goes next season especially with a bit more talent in his team.

      Tim the Tool man
      Date and time
      November 16, 2013, 2:17PM

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      Four Nations 2014

      Round 1
      Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
      ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
      AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
      NEWZ 14 vs SAM 12 Report Stats
      Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
      AUS 16 vs ENG 12 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
      NEWZ 16 vs ENG 14 Report Stats
      Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
      AUS 44 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
      NEWZ 22 vs AUS 18 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Four Nations 2014
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      New Zealand 3 3 0 0 22 6
      Australia 3 2 1 0 12 4
      England 3 1 2 0 0 2
      Samoa 3 0 3 0 -34 0
      View all
      Featured advertisers