No finger pointing: Josh Dugan plays in pain

Josh Dugan showed his skills in the Origin II decider. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN
Josh Dugan showed his skills in the Origin II decider. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN


Josh Morris busted knee. Brett Morris dislocated shoulder. Cooper Cronk fractured arm. Josh Dugan broken fingernail.

Dugan might seem like the odd man out in the "playing through pain stakes" but take one look at the pinkie on his right hand and try not to wince in empathetic agony.

The NSW centre played State of Origin III with a fingernail missing, after it was completely torn off during his last match for St George Illawarra.

As the picture on Brad Fittler's Twitter feed would attest, it's not pretty.

And given Dugan couldn't even shake hands at the beginning of Origin camp, tackling Queensland's Greg Inglis is going to be far from comfortable.

"Any time it knocks something or I move it, it feels like barbed wire is on it," Dugan said.

"It doesn't feel too pleasant. It's one of the worst feelings I've had through my career."

Dugan was in so much pain when he suffered the freak accident against Melbourne at WIN Stadium two rounds ago, Dragons staff informed broadcasters Fox Sports that the 24-year-old had dislocated his finger.

Despite the rawness of the pain, Dugan got himself back in the line and threw a pristine flick-pass to put his winger Jason Nightingale over for a try - before receiving more attention.

Only afterwards did it became apparent that Dugan's courageous effort no longer sounded so glamorous when it was downgraded from 'try-assist with dislocated finger' to 'try-assist with broken nail'.

"I don't know what happened. I just looked down at my finger and the nail had popped out of its base," he said.

"I kind of just had to play on. I was a little bit worried about whether I had done a bit more damage.

"After the game we tried to put the nail back under and we were pushing and pulling it and in the end it just came off.

"I've got no nail on there and the doc reckons it'll take three months for it to grow back."

While Dugan will be nursing his finger, Queensland halfback Cronk will be trying to protect his arm after he broke it during game one on May 28.

Cronk's Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy will be anxiously watching, knowing the Storm's chances of making the finals may rely on the No 7 getting through unscathed.

Like Cronk, Josh Morris goes into Origin III without an NRL game under his belt, since injuring the PCL in his knee during the opener.

Morris faces the added challenge of shifting to the more unfamiliar left side of the field to fill the centre role vacated by the injured Michael Jennings. AAP


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