NSW star Josh Dugan admits he sees himself as a centre just as much as a fullback after a successfull transition.
What started as an experiment for Josh Dugan might just become permanent.
The St George Illawarra and NSW star admits he has no idea what his preferred position is after his shock switch from fullback to centre last month.
Dugan’s NRL coach Paul McGregor has indicated he’ll move his biggest strikeweapon back to the No.1 jersey after the State of Origin period.
But the man himself isn’t so sure he wants that to happen.
It’s an incredible change in mindset for a player considered an out-and-out-fullback until McGregor instigated the bold move back in round 12.
The Dragons were struggling for continuity in attack and Dugan decided to put his hand up.
That the injury-hit Blues were looking for a new right centre at the same time was just a happy coincidence, according to the 24-year-old.
“Mary (McGregor) asked me if I thought Adam Quinlan should be playing first grade and I said yes,” said Dugan.
“And he said, ‘well to do that you’d have to play centre.’
“I said, ‘yeah throw me there.’
“It was always solely about the (Dragons) and it just so happened there was an opportunity that opened up for me there for NSW.”
Dugan has come a long way since he was sacked by Canberra last year.
He admits his younger, more head-strong self wouldn’t have been so keen on making a sacrifice for the good of the team.
“In the early days of my career, I was a bit younger and I wanted to play where I wanted to play. But as you grow up you learn the team environment and you always want to do the best by them,” he said.
“Over the last 18 months I’ve developed that mentality.”
Now that injured Dragons centre Dylan Farrell is back on deck, it would seem Dugan can return to fullback in place of Quinlan if he chooses.
But Dugan is in two minds.
His second ever outing in the front line came in NSW’s most important Origin match, game two in Sydney.
Dugan defied the critics to shut down Queensland superstar Greg Inglis.
For the Dragons, Dugan’s powerful ball-carrying has formed a promising combination on the right-side, with veteran playmaker Benji Marshall and winger Jason Nightingale.
The factor which might tilt Dugan towards saying at centre is that NSW’s current fullback Jarryd Hayne – at just 26 years of age – is now in the conversation as the best player in the NRL.
Dugan’s best chance of becoming a regular fixture at Origin level may be at centre.
“At the moment I can’t pick one,” he said.
“I’m really loving playing centre. I’m a bit surprised how well I’ve made that transition.
“I see myself as a utility now and I feel I can play both.
“I think centre suits me with the lines I run and I can get a lot more one-on-ones with players.
“In Origin I’ve said I’d play anywhere to pull that blue jersey on. At the moment it’s centre but you never know what the future holds.”