You’d think that having played on rugby league’s biggest stage and stared down 52,000 screaming Queenslanders, Josh Dugan would have no fears about slotting back into a high-flying Dragons side.
But as the incumbent NSW fullback confirmed he was "fit and ready to go" for this Saturday’s Men of League Heritage Round clash with the Rabbitohs, the livewire custodian admitted to being on edge about slotting back into a side he has only played 10 matches for since arriving at the club mid last year.
"To be honest I’m a little bit nervous coming back into a team that’s gelled so well after that tough loss against Souths in the Charity Shield," said Dugan, who returns from a knee injury sustained in the 38-20 pre-season defeat.
"I was probably a couple of days off playing last week so I went through my last rehab last week and joined the team yesterday.
"I’m just looking forward to training well this week and hopefully warranting being picked."
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Dugan also acknowledged it would be hard to leave out the man who has filled in admirably at fullback over the first four rounds, with utility Adam Quinlan scoring two tries and impressing under the high ball for the competition co-leaders.
"He’s been playing well and I think he’s definitely someone that you have to find somewhere in the team for him," Dugan said.
"He’s one of those players that turns up anywhere and can score those tries from nothing."
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With wingers Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale combining for seven tries between them, as well as 39 tackle breaks, Dugan said he was excited at the prospect of joining the two in-form flyers at the back for the Dragons.
"When we’re all on our game I think we’ve got one of the best back threes in the comp," he said.
"You’ve got 'B-Moz' (Morris) and 'Gypsy' (Nightingale), [they’re] both international wingers and they’ve done the job exceptionally, so it’s always handy having those two helping out at the back."
Speaking on Tuesday to a packed house alongside rugby league Immortal Graeme Langlands, Dugan said he was humbled by the occasion and the illustrious company he found himself in.
"It’s definitely an honour and to run out for my first game at the SCG in the Heritage Round is great," he said.
"It’s always a tough game against Souths with the history that we have, it’s going to be a good game on Saturday and I’m looking forward to it."
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