Former Canberra team-mate Jarrod Croker believes the Raiders are better off without enigmatic fullback Josh Dugan at the same time as Dragons players speak glowingly of their new recruit’s influence on their team.
Canberra enter the second half of the season hanging on to eight spot on the ladder while a starring performance from Dugan last week against the Knights has given the Dragons faithful reason to believe something can be salvaged from the 2013 season.
While many questioned whether Dugan should have been able to find a new club so soon after being sacked by the Raiders for repeated disciplinary breaches, Croker tells Big League this week that his departure has been good for the club.
The intense media speculation surrounding the club eased dramatically after Dugan was shown the door following various misdemeanours, and new fullback Reece Robinson has shined chiming in at the back.
“It’s definitely a bit quieter around here, a bit more about the footy now,” Raider centre Jarrod Croker told Big League at the time of Dugan’s departure. “It wasn’t so much a distraction in the first place for us, but obviously stuff outside the club goes on. It was never really a distraction within the playing group.”
Dugan has found a new home at the Dragons, who offered him a contract filled with plenty of special clauses. His new (and former) club-mate Bronson Harrison says the team has quickly seen the impact of Dugan’s talent.
“He sparks us, he’s someone that can spark something from nothing,” Harrison says. “And I think he’s just happy to be playing footy. It’s showing out there, he’s doing some great things for us and we need to find those strengths and build off it.
“I think with the environment the club has, he’ll get a bit more freedom and I think he’ll feel more at home and relaxed. It’s a good environment to play footy when you’re in that frame of mind.”