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24 Mar 2018 19:06
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Dugan surprised by Kangaroos' RLWC call-up

    Josh Dugan says he wants to repay coach Mal Meninga's faith after being surprised by his World Cup Kangaroos selection.

    - article from

    There will be no quiet beers for surprised Kangaroos call-up Josh Dugan during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

    And Dugan will no doubt be the first man on the Australian team bus, too.

    The Cronulla-bound X-factor has promised to be on his best behaviour for the Kangaroos, vowing to repay coach Mal Meninga's faith after his World Cup nod.

    Dugan admitted he was surprised by his Kangaroos selection after what he described as an "up and down" season with St George Illawarra.

    It certainly was a rollercoaster ride.

    Dugan shone for the NSW State of Origin team after recovering from a broken cheekbone suffered in the trans-Tasman Test.

    However, he also made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

    There was the drinking session five days out from Origin III.

    And the Dragons suspension for missing the team bus to Penrith for their round 25 clash.

    Yet throughout Dugan said he felt he always had Meninga's support.

    "It's massive and pretty humbling having someone of the stature of Mal to back me," Dugan said.

    "I am looking forward to getting into camp and not letting anyone down.

    "I was a bit up and down form-wise this year with a few niggling injuries but I feel I had a strong Origin period.

    "I have mixed feelings about the season but it is good to be back with the boys."

    Dugan may have received Meninga's backing but good mate Blake Ferguson wasn't so lucky.

    Sydney Roosters flyer Ferguson - Dugan's pre-Origin drinking buddy this year - was overlooked for the Kangaroos squad.

    Dugan said he would miss his mate in Kangaroos camp.

    "I spoke to him and he is pretty devastated," he said.

    "Mal spoke to him at length and the reasons why.

    "But he is in good spirits now seeing his family and having a bit of time off."

    Despite Meninga's support, Dugan still had a seed of doubt when the Dragons agonisingly missed out on clinching a top eight NRL finals berth.

    "I was a bit surprised by my selection to be honest," he said.

    "There were some great players throughout the finals that probably could be here.

    "But Mal has shown faith in me and now I don't want to let him down."

    Dugan is expected to slot into the centres with Will Chambers in Australia's starting side.

    "When I have been in the green and gold I don't think I have let anyone down," Dugan said.

    "I think that was a big reason for me to be picked.

    "This, being my first World Cup, is something very special and something I will hold pretty close to me."

    But he will be keeping the beers at bay.

    Asked if he would be tempted to have a quiet one during the long World Cup campaign, Dugan said: "Days off are to be spent in bed."

    Australia will fly out to Fiji on Thursday for a warm-up mini tournament also featuring PNG.

    Each team will play each other with all three games lasting a total of 40 minutes.

    It will mark Australia's first match in Fiji.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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