Dugan most popular back for NRL All Stars

Josh Dugan’s star continues to rise with the Raiders fullback currently the NRL’s most popular back in the public voting for the 2011 NRL All Stars team, which closes in less than a fortnight. <br><br> Dugan leads the way for the Raiders with over 6700 votes, the third most overall behind Eels captain Nathan Hindmarsh (almost 7000, leading the forwards voting) and Rabbitohs’ injured Englishman Sam Burgess (second in the forwards voting with 6800). <br><br> With the first round of public voting closing on December 28 Dugan looks set to wrap up one of the four Raiders spots in the squad of 64 players – two forwards and two backs from each club - that will be announced ahead of the second round of voting which opens January 3. <br><br> Dugan is a few hundred votes ahead of the Roosters’ Dally M Medal winner and International Player of the Year Todd Carney and Eels star Jarryd Hayne in the overall tally, and has a significant lead over his team-mates, with Jarod Croker and Daniel Vidot likely to battle it out for the second spot. <br><br> Australian representative David Shillington is the leading Raiders forward with over 5600 votes, with Bronson Harrison and Alan Tongue also in the mix for a spot. <br><br> “The All-stars game was a great occasion last season and it’s something I’d love to be a part of,” Dugan said. <br><br> “I had the chance to play Country Origin last season and any type of rep jumper is something I’d cherish.” <br><br> “To be leading the Raiders votes at the moment in a team of great players is a huge honour and I’d be proud to represent the Raiders in this match if I get selected.” <br><br> The first round of NRL All Stars voting at www.nrl.com/allstars continues through until December 28, with rugby league fans asked to pick two backs and two forwards from each of the 16 NRL clubs to form a shortlist of 64 players. <br><br> Bennett will then indicate which positions he wants each of the 64 players to be considered for, as well as outlining the make-up of the bench positions for the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match at the Gold Coast. <br><br> In stage two of the NRL All Stars voting, starting January 3, the public will be given the challenge of selecting one player from each of the 16 NRL clubs. <br><br> The 16 players chosen by the fans will join Australian and New Zealand Test captains Darren Lockyer and Benji Marshall in the team, with Bennett and the NRL All Stars coaching staff then selecting the remaining two players to form the 20-man squad. <br><br> Bennett said the biggest problem is that “all the players want to play” but there can only be one from each club (as decided by the public). <br><br> To vote, <a href="http://www.nrl.com/repgames/allstarsvoting/tabid/10972/default.aspx"> click here.</a>