Both are athletic players that add an explosive element to any team they play in. They both bring a real x factor to the game, they can make something out of nothing. Normally these qualities are something all teams would crave. However when it comes to Dugan and Ferguson…they just are not worth the trouble…
Josh Dugan has a long history of off field problems. On the field, Dugan is injury prone to the point where the Canberra Raiders simply can not rely on him being available when it really matters. Chances are he will be out with injury for long stretches of the season.
As one of the highest paid players at the Raiders, that simply isn’t good enough. When you add his off field issues to his injury problems and his massive salary, all of the negatives far out weigh the positives.
When Josh Dugan last came off contract I questioned whether the Canberra Raiders Should Even Consider Re-Signing Josh Dugan. I’ve written about Josh Dugans Attitude and his Questionable Decisions a few times over the years. At times it has fired up Canberra Raiders fans but I get the feeling that now, even Raiders fans have had enough.
Reece Robinson has been sensational when he has stepped in in Dugans absence. His salary has far less of an impact on the Canberra Raiders salary cap and he is one of those players you can rely on. He put in 100% effort in every game he plays.
He makes Josh Dugan expendable.
As for Blake Ferguson, he is at a real crossroads in his career. Athletically he has it all.
The problem is, at 22 years of age he still has a lot of improvement left in his game. That is a good thing, but with every off field issue his on field development is held back. At some point, you don’t just have to worry about your capable of, you also have to worry about the 18 year old kid that takes your place and who just hits the ground running. The bloke that makes the coach decide you’re not worth the effort any more.
Right now you have to look at both of these players from the Canberra Raiders point of view…
Once again they are dealing with off field issues involving these two. They are coming off a bad loss against Penrith in their season opener and there is talk that the playing group has simply had enough, especially in the case of Josh Dugan.
The Raiders are almost certain to cut ties with Dugan and get out from underneath his massive contract, which will be a good thing for the club. With Robinson ready to step in, the Raiders won’t lose anything on the field, they will have a more stable lineup and they will free up salary cap space.
There are already reports that Dugan is being shopped around to Sydney based NRL clubs. No doubt someone will take a punt on him due to his talent, but I don’t think he is worth the hassle.
One of the best commodities any player of any ability can have is reliability. When a coach can select a player and know he doesn’t have to worry about them getting injured or caught up in any off field drama, they hold onto those players for as long as they possibly can.
You see it all the time. Wayne Bennett with Beau Scott, Ivan Cleary with Lewis Brown…players that a coach can rely on. Because of all of his issues, Josh Dugan is going to earn far less money at other NRL clubs because coaches know they can’t rely on him. They’ll take a punt, they’ll hope they strike a bit of gold at the right times with him, but no club will again build their team around him as the Canberra Raiders were willing to do.
For Ferguson, his career is maybe even less certain. Having left the Sharks on bad terms, he now could find himself sack from the Raiders. A great athlete, but he comes with baggage.
I wouldn’t want either of these players at my club. Their talent is undoubted, but they are just too unreliable and their off field issues just mean they are not worth the trouble.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com