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25 Jul 2017 10:46
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Dragons Dugan, Vaughan likely for Raiders

    Josh Dugan is tipped to beat a groin niggle to face Canberra for St George Illawarra in their NRL clash, while Paul Vaughan will return from a calf strain.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Josh Dugan is expected to overcome a groin complaint, suffered in the State of Origin decider, to face former club Canberra in Friday night's NRL clash.

    Dugan pulled up sore after NSW's series loss, but headed to Canberra to join the team on Thursday for treatment and was set to be declared fit to play.

    The Dragons have already ruled out Blues Origin lock Tyson Frizell due to an ongoing rib injury, but expect to welcome back prop Paul Vaughan from a calf tear suffered last month.

    Vaughan has passed all medical checks this week, and coach Paul McGregor expects him to play in the crucial clash.

    "He surprised me, actually," McGregor said.

    "He's a quick healer ... we thought he may have been another week; we were working towards this week but more thinking of next week.

    "But he's surprised everyone - he has got through everything."

    Vaughan and Dugan were named on an extended bench for the Dragons, but looked certainties to face their former club at GIO Stadium.

    And McGregor believed it would bring the best out of Vaughan, who had led the charge by the Dragons' forwards over the first third of the competition.

    "You're playing against your old club, your old mates and people you've had a lot to do with. You want to go out there and play well," he said.

    McGregor said he felt no need to rest Dugan in the same way he had with the battered Frizell.

    "His body is not bumped and bruised as much," he said.

    "He's not carrying injuries and he's also missed five games this year through injury."

    The clash is a crucial one for both sides, given the out-of-form Dragons have fallen to seventh, two wins ahead of the chasing pack for the finals.

    In contract, Canberra are 11th and will likely need to win six of their last eight to have any hopes of backing up last year's playoffs finish.

    No team has pulled off such a run since the Raiders in 2010, when they rode the momentum into the second week of the finals.

    "It's a must-win - there's no denying that," Raiders captain Jarrod Croker said.

    "We just need our first win, and we just need that to be (Friday) night."

    Forward Josh Papalii is also likely to back up from Queensland's Origin win for the Raiders, while hooker Josh Hodgson is tipped to return from a calf strain.

    STATS THAT MATTER:

    * After overcoming the famed hoodoo, the Dragons are looking to win five straight against Canberra

    * The Raiders are busting through the most tackles per match (34.8)

    * The Dragons concede the equal-least first-half points (8.1)


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