Daniel Nichols – How Big A Risk Is Dugan?

Rugby League’s worst kept secret is now out, Josh Dugan is officially a Dragon. My first reaction was ‘geese the Dragons are desperate’ but on second thought I realised it was only a few short weeks ago someone asked me if I’d take Dugan at the Sharks and I said I would consider it.

The Dragons have lost fullback Gerard Beale for the season and have just lost number one strike weapon Brett Morris for roughly a month. They have hardly set the world on fire in 2013 and have only scored over 20 points once this season. They are in need of an attacking spark and in Dugan they have acquired just that.

Dugan is a State of Origin level talent with the ability to lift the team from the back. He makes breaks from everywhere on the park and can score and set up the tries the Dragons are in need of. Unfortunately with all his talent Dugan also brings him a huge rap sheet of indiscretions from his old club, the Raiders.

Some of these incidents were law breaking but most were just a young man being stupid. I cannot forgive him for speeding and driving whilst disqualified, this is a dangerous act and he was lucky to not be suspended from football for a long time. Anyone who puts other people as well as themselves at fault on the roads deserves nothing but a kick in the head.

MOST of Dugan’s problems come from his inability to ignore criticism and random trolls. A public figure encouraging someone to kill themselves is a stupid act and should not be defended BUT it is easier to advice others to simply ‘ignore, block and delete’ than it is to do so yourself. Dugan is the sort of character that attracts a large number of these ‘trolls’ and in all honesty he probably just snapped at one abusive comment too many.

Dugan needs to get his drinking under control and needs to be able to ignore these idiotic comments on social media if he is to fulfil his undoubted potential.

Just how big a risk he is to the Dragons, well I don’t think he is a massive risk, and I def see it as one the Dragons can easily justify. Personally I decided I did not want him at my club, mainly as we have a class fullback and we don’t really need to take the risk with him as we did with Todd Carney 2 seasons ago. The Dragons however possibly do need to take the risk.

If Dugan is able to reform his image he could set the Dragons alight in 2013 and beyond. His positional play is very good as he can finish, 2 aspects of his game that will benefit Jamie Soward greatly. If he gets on the drink and lets loose on social media it won’t really damage the Dragons.

Canberra had NO CHOICE but to sack him. He has a rap sheet a mile long and showed blatant disrespect with that idiotic photo he posted drinking whilst skipping a rehab session. At the Dragons he starts with a virtual clean slate. If he messes up, the Dragons simply can opt not to extend his contract past the end of the season.

The people I feel sorry for in this situation are the Raiders’ fans. They had an amazingly talented fullback who showed no respect for their club and then is allowed to walk straight into another club

and earn big dollars. The Raiders really gained nothing out of sacking Dugan just as they did when they were forced to march Todd Carney out of the club.

Unfortunately for Raiders’ fans they have a young side and a fairly inexperienced coach meaning incidents like Dugan and Carney are going to happen. As players grow older and realise their past mistakes they tend to reform ala Carney and countless others.

Is signing Dugan something I would have supported personally? No.

Are the Dragons taking a chance in signing Dugan? Yes.

Are the Dragons endangering the future of the club by signing Dugan? Hell no.

Is it a chance most fans and officials would be willing to take? Very much so.

I hope this time next season we are talking about Josh Dugan in terms of a possible return to State of Origin and not as another of League’s great wastes of talent.

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