St George Illawarra fullback Josh Dugan says his return to action after injury should have been rewarded with a try, but was pleased to come through his first 80 minutes of the NRL season unscathed.
The NSW star was unable to prevent the Dragons slipping to a 26-6 loss to South Sydney at the SCG on Saturday having spent six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury suffered against the Rabbitohs in the Charity Shield in February.
However, Dugan and the Dragons were furious his first-half effort was ruled out when he was adjudged to have not been in control of the ball when he hauled in a delicate Gareth Widdop chip-kick.
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The score at the time was 8-0 to Souths and Dugan was convinced that had his try been awarded the outcome could have been more favourable.
"If you don't have control with it with two hands then I don't know what control is," Dugan told AAP.
"It was a massive, massive turnaround in the game. If that was a try it would have been 8-6.
"But they scored from next set and got a roll on."
Although the try was ruled out, it would have brought a smile to the face of NSW coach Laurie Daley with Dugan instinctively finding a gap in the Souths' defence and leaping high above Greg Inglis to haul in the kick.
"I saw big 'GI' over-chasing and told him (Widdop) the move was on and he put it on the spot for me," he said.
"I think that proved my knee was good, I was close to playing last week but the coaching staff held me back.
"But I've pulled up sweet, it was good to get a good hit out, I did feel a bit under the weather but I am only going to get fitter with the more games I play."
Dugan is the incumbent NSW fullback and he is confident he can retain his spot for the series opener in Brisbane on May 28.
"I hope I'll be there, there are a lot of good fullbacks knocking around, but if I can keep playing well for the Dragons I think I have a good chance of being picked again," he said.