Dugan focused on Dragons

Josh Dugan says he is more worried about the Dragons' season than his Blues prospects. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Josh Dugan says he is more worried about the Dragons' season than his Blues prospects. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


Incumbent NSW fullback Josh Dugan insists he's more concerned with getting the Dragons' season back on track than a one-on-one showdown with Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne.

The pair will oppose each other at Parramatta on Saturday in what's shaping as a head-to-head battle for the Blues No 1 jersey.

Hayne was in sublime touch on Monday, scoring two tries and laying on two more in the Eels' 42-24 flogging of Cronulla, but a strong performance from Dugan on Saturday could prompt NSW coach Laurie Daley to deploy the Eels superstar elsewhere in his Blues line-up.

Pundits are split on just who will get the nod at fullback but Dugan said he hasn't let the speculation distract him as his side looks to bounce back from a 38-6 thrashing at the hands of the Bulldogs on Sunday.

"I'm not too worried about that [Origin] at the moment," Dugan said.

"I think it's pretty much just media speculation. I haven't really heard too much from Loz (Daley) and I'm not too worried about it.

"If I got the chance I'd definitely grab it with both hands but I'm definitely more focused on playing good footy for the Dragons."

While keen to play down his selection chances, Dugan admitted the chance to come up against Hayne is one that he's relishing.

"It's going to be a good challenge and I'm always up for those sort of things," he said.

"I love playing against the big-name fullbacks and I enjoy that sort of challenge."

While Hayne's form may prove irresistible for NSW selectors, Dragons coach Steve Price expects his star fullback to mount a strong case for selection.

"Jarryd Hayne has been playing some really good football and prior to the weekend's game Josh Dugan had been doing really well for us," Price said.

"He'd openly admit there's been areas where he knows he can do better from the weekend's game. I've got all the confidence in Josh to put a really good performance in this weekend and really push for that No 1 spot in two weeks' time."

Hayne's versatility saw him mooted as a possible selection at fullback, wing, five-eighth and centre but Price is confident his charge could adapt if called upon to play out of his favoured fullback position.

"I couldn't see that being an issue. Apparently Josh played a bit of centre and wing coming through the grades down in Canberra," Price said.

"I've actually never put him in that scenario or position at club level, but he's a guy who can adjust and understand the game quite well depending on what Laurie and the coaching staff go with."

Dugan said he would welcome any Blues jumper no matter what number is on the back.

"I'd definitely put my hand up if that's [wing] where I was picked, but I'm not going to get my hopes up," he said.


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