Vaughan looking to press Origin claims against Warriors

IN CONTENTION: Dragons prop Paul Vaughan will get his final chance to press his Origin claims against the Warriors on Friday. Picture: Getty Images
IN CONTENTION: Dragons prop Paul Vaughan will get his final chance to press his Origin claims against the Warriors on Friday. Picture: Getty Images

A STATE of Origin debut, or cocktails on Waikiki Beach.

It’s a conundrum some wouldn’t consider a conundrum at all but it’s the one facing in-form Dragons prop Paul Vaughan who’s firming for a maiden Blues jumper with each passing week.

Vaughan produced a mighty individual performance in a tense 18-14 loss to Cronulla last week with plenty of punters already penciling for Origin I on May 31. 

The problem is, Vaughan is due to be a groomsmen at best mate Anthony Onorato’s wedding in Hawaii that week, an event specifically set down to coincide with the Dragons round 12 bye.

It amounts to a win-win situation for Vaughan who will have his last chance to push his claims for selection for Origin I against the Warriors on Friday.

“I’ve got my mate’s wedding over in Hawaii that week so I’ve actually booked flights to go to Hawaii,” Vaughan said.

“He’s one of my best mates from down in Canberra. I’m one of his groomsmen but if it does happen and I do get picked he obviously understands so that’s good.

“We’ll have to wait and see. If I don’t get picked I’ll be disappointed but I’ll be Hawaii so it won’t be too bad. Either situation’s pretty good for me.

“I think every football player wants to play at the highest level and that is the highest level, State of Origin, so I’d love to be involved in it. Friday’s obviously my last chance to press my claims and I’ll be doing that and playing the best football I can.”

It’s a welcome headache for a man with very few of them these days having found career-best form since shifting to the Dragons from Canberra this season.

The 26-year-old has also inked a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the Dragons until the end of the 2021 season after approaching the club to extend the deal that already had him locked down until the end of 2019.

“I love the club and I really like the direction it’s going in, there’s going to be a bright future here and I want to be a part of it,” Vaughan said.

“We initially signed a three-year deal when I first came up and I just asked my manager if it was possible to sign an extension for a couple more years.

“Obviously the team’s been playing pretty well and everyone’s in a pretty good mood so I thought if I put an extension forward that they might be happy to accept it and they have.

“They put their confidence in me and it’s about repaying that faith that the club put in me. It’s good to have that security, me and my partner are going to start a family soon so I’m just looking after myself and my family.”

Having found top form under Paul McGregor, Vaughan said he hopes his coach, currently un-signed beyond 2017, will follow suit in the near future.

“Mary’s been unreal for me since I first came up here and I’m hoping he can stay here for as long as possible,” Vaughan said.

“Hopefully that gets sorted out soon and I’m just excited to stay here for the amount of time that I am.”


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