Rugby League


Rams say thanks, but no thanks to Dugan

The Canberra Raiders sacked him, the Brisbane Broncos withdrew a $2 million offer, now Josh Dugan couldn't even land a gig in a trial match with a Canberra local team.

On the cusp of receiving an NRL lifeline with the St George Illawarra Dragons, Dugan trained secretly with Canberra Raiders Cup team the Woden Valley Rams last week in a bid to play a trial match in the local league.

Dugan hasn't played for a month, sacked by the Raiders for going on an alcoholic bender the day after Canberra's round one loss to the Penrith Panthers.

But Dugan shocked Woden Valley Rams players and officials when he showed up to training last Thursday and then asked if he could play in their trial match against the West Belconnen Warriors last Saturday.

The club declined the request, but mainly because they were concerned an injury could jeopardise the 22-year-old's chances of finding a new home in the NRL.

Dugan was set to join the Broncos until Brisbane ended negotiations following Dugan's controversial comments on Twitter where he told a Raiders fan to ''end yourself'''.


St George Illawarra now appears to be Dugan's last option and Fairfax Media understands he is close to agreeing to terms, after Dragons fullback Gerard Beale suffered a season-ending knee injury last weekend.

The NRL is yet to receive a contract request from a club and the Australian Rugby League Commission has given no guarantees that it would be prepared to register Dugan immediately, given his off-field history and the way he left the Raiders.

Dugan has only attended one training session with the Rams and did not show up on Tuesday night.

On a $650,000 deal at the Raiders before he was dumped for behavioural issues, Woden's training base - North Curtin Oval - is about as far away from the NRL high-life as it gets.

Dugan is close friends with Rams player Nathan Smith, and asked the back-rower if he could train with the first grade squad.

Rams coach Cameron Hardy was an assistant coach at the Raiders when Dugan was playing for the club's Under-18 SG Ball side, a squad that also featured current Raiders Jarrod Croker, Jarrad Kennedy and Mark Nicholls.

Rams juniors watched on in awe last week as Dugan participated in the first grade team's training, taking part in contact and wrestling drills.

The Rams were only too happy to allow Dugan to train, believing time on the field will help him confront and beat his issues.


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