Dugan shines brightest in NRL All Stars' win
Rising star Josh Dugan's 40m solo try eight minutes from time sealed him the Preston Campbell Medal and the NRL All Stars a 28-12 victory over the Indigenous All Stars at Skilled Park, Robina, tonight.
Raiders fullback Dugan, who pipped Eels superstar Jarryd Hayne for a place in the Harvey Norman All Stars match, is sure to have also given NSW Blues selectors plenty to think about with his Man of the Match-winning performance, which prompted All Stars team-mate and QLD Origin hero Cameron Smith to single him out and tip a "big year" ahead.
Dugan, 20, sliced through the defence with a short ball from Feleti Mateo to put the match out of reach of the Indigenous All Stars, who were making a late charge as they did to win the inaugural match 16-12 last year.
Nathan Merritt had put the game within reach of the Indigenous side when he scored a benefit-of-the-doubt try in the final seconds of the third quarter as his side staged a spirited comeback. Scott Prince converted to make it 22-12.
The NRL All Stars laid the foundation for the win in a bruising second quarter when they smashed the Indigenous All Stars on the scoreboard and on the field to lead 22-6 at half time in front of a capacity crowd of 25,800.
The first quarter was tightly contested with the NRL All Stars leading 4-0 at the break, but they came out firing in the second 20-minute period, which saw them score three tries as two Indigenous players had to be taken from the field after sickening head clashes.
Indigenous All Stars prop George Rose looked to have a broken nose after a head clash with teammate Joel Thompson in the 31st minute. Three minutes later Beau Champion was knocked out when he took Petero Civoniceva head-on.
Paul Gallen, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Akuila Uate scored the second quarter tries and Benji Marshall kicked two field goals, with Cameron Smith bagging the other.
The Indigenous All Stars finally broke through the tough NRL defensive line as Ben Barba crossed in the final seconds before half time, with Johnathan Thurston converting.
Winger Brett Morris crossed in the left corner just three minutes after kick-off for the first and only try of the first quarter, but Smith missed the conversion.
In earlier matches, the Women's All Stars beat the Indigenous Women's All Stars 20-6, and the NSW and Queensland Indigenous U16 All Stars had a 20-all draw.
NRL All Stars 28 (tries - Brett Morris 3rd min, Paul Gallen 24th, Shaun Kenny-Dowall 32nd, Akuila Uate 35th, Josh Dugan 72nd; goals - Cameron Smith 1, Benji Marshall 2, Kurt Gidley 1)
Indigenous All Stars 12 (tries - Ben Barba 40th min, Nathan Merritt 60th; goals - Johnathan Thurston 1, Scott Prince 1)