Can Josh Dugan Save His Career At The St George/Illawarra Dragons?

Injury prone and more trouble than he’s worth.

It is not exactly the type of description you’d expect to hear about a player who, at his best, is a walk up start for the New South Wales State Of Origin team.

At just 22 years of age Josh Dugan finds himself at a cross roads. Having has a lucrative contract at the Canberra Raiders torn up because of his behaviour off the field, Dugan will now line up for the St George/Illawarra Dragons for the rest of the season as he looks to get his career back on track.

Plenty of players before Dugan have managed to pull their careers out of freefall and become top class players that contributed to premiership winning teams. There is however a long list of players who threw away all the potential in the world and ended up throwing bricks for a living.

In time we will find out which one of these groups Josh Dugan belongs to, but for now, you’d think it has to be one week at a time.

From the Dragons point of view, Dugan is probably worth the gamble. He is only signed through to the end of the season so if he stuffs up again, they can cut him loose without taking too much of a financial hit. If it turns out that Dugan gets his life together and plays some good, consistant football, the Dragons will be able to retain a State Of origin caliber player at a bargain price.

The Dragons are desperate for a bit of strike power in their side. When Dugan is in form there is no doubt that he is one of the top attacking fullbacks in the game. With Gerard Beale injured for the rest of the season, the Dragons can give Dugan the number one jersey for the rest of the season without putting any noses out of joint.

The Dragons current lineup still has the DNA of the team that won a Grand Final a few years ago. I really like their forward pack, they compete hard every single week and show a lot of toughness against opposition teams that usually beat them in a battle of the backs.

If Dugan can add a bit of spark in the Dragons back line, he could not only turn the Dragons season around, but turn himself into a player that is once again coveted by other clubs and representative selectors. That is all a long way down the line though…

Dugan needs to surround himself with some decent role models. He needs to completely change his behavior, not just to save his football career, but to make sure that his life after football isn’t dominated by off field issues that he will have to confront all by himself and without the help of a football clubs infrastructure at his disposal.

At 22 years of age, Josh Dugan has an entire career ahead of him. He has a whole life ahead of him. If he keeps treating the amazing opportunity he has to be a professional footballer with disdain though, he will soon find himself an old footballer with a chequered past…something few NRL clubs will have any interest in taking on.

Josh Dugan almost found himself needed to head to Super League to get a run. That should be the biggest warning sign of all. If he ruins this opportunity at the Dragons, he may well find himself having to head to northern England just to get a run.

No doubt the Dragons will do everything they can to try and get Josh Dugans career back on track. At the end of the day though, its up to Josh to change his behavior.

Personally, I don’t hold out much hope. Hopefully he proves me wrong…

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