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Dugan retires after Sharks terminate contract over COVID breaches

Josh Dugan has announced his retirement less than an hour after Cronulla terminated the few months of his contract following a second breach of the NRL's biosecurity rules.

Cronulla issued a statement on Friday afternoon after conducting a review and internal hearing process, with "the club and Dugan's management mutually agreeing to the immediate termination". 

Dugan posted on Instagram soon after to say farewell to rugby league.

"So by now I’m sure everyone’s seen the news, and for me that ends my time in the nrl.

"What a journey it’s been from a scrawny little kid at south Tuggeranong to debuting at 18 for the raiders, playing origin at 21 against some of the best players in the era then moving to the dragons, a team I supported growing up and loved every minute of it, and lastly the Sharks which while has ended the way it has I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s been a roller coaster throughout my career but due to my support network and my own grit and determination never gave up or took an easy option, in doing that I got to represent my country and state whilst playing over 200 games.

"To my teammates over the years thank you, staff and coaches alike thank you. Made some lifelong brotherhoods and had some unreal opportunities.

"My next chapter involves community work and hopefully running my own business."

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A post shared by Josh Dugan ✌🏽 (@__duges13)

The second breach occurred on August 20 when he was fined by police after being caught twice in western NSW in breach of the government's stay-at-home orders.

Dugan was issued a breach notice for a $50,000 fine by the NRL a fortnight ago.

Under the NSW Public Health Order for the current COVID-19 outbreak, residents are not permitted to move outside their LGA or five kilometres from their home except for specific reasons, including work or to receive medical treatment.

He had fronted also Cronulla's disciplinary committee for a previous breach in June. 

The former NSW and Australian representative was fined $25,000 by the NRL for the first breach when he attended a Potts Points restaurant.

Dugan did not travel to Queensland with the Sharks squad for the closing months of the season and remained in Sydney.

The 31-year-old was off contract with Cronulla at the end of the season and had been told mid-season that he was not part of the club's plans for 2022 under incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon.

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