Dragons player Josh Dugan during the round 17 match against the Titans.
Dragons player Josh Dugan during the round 17 match against the Titans. DAVE HUNT

Numbers don't stack up for Dugan's 'world-class' claim

THROUGHOUT contract negotiations, Josh Dugan didn't want to be pigeonholed in any one position.

He just wanted to be categorised as a "world-class" footballer.

In fact, when Dugan signed a four-year contract with Cronulla in May, he declared he was joining the 2016 premiers as a "world-class player".

But is he really world class?

Last weekend Dugan was stood down for the Dragons' win over Penrith after missing the team bus.

It was a minor indiscretion but Dugan was made an example of.

After the game, coach Paul McGregor told Fox League that 27-year-old had served his punishment before throwing in the line, "he's a world-class player isn't he?".

It was a subtle jab at the Test and Origin representative but one not lost on those within rugby league circles.

The Dragons' recruitment and retention team made no secret of the fact they viewed Dugan as a centre during contract negotiations.

He disagreed with their rationale, openly speaking about how he feels most at home in the No.1.

So how does Dugan stack up against the top fullbacks in the game?

When comparing him against the undisputed elite, the numbers don't look pretty for the Red V's custodian.


Tom Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles runs through with the ball to score a try during the Round 22 NRL match between the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Sydney Roosters at Lottoland in Sydney, Sunday, August 6, 2017. (AAP Image/David Moir) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Tom Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles is among the top fullbacks in the game. DAVID MOIR

Up against James Tedesco, Billy Slater, Tom Trbojevic, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Darius Boyd, Dugan is placed last in six of 13 categories fullbacks are measured on.

When it comes to try involvements this year, Dugan has nine, while Manly gun Tom Trbojevic boasts a whopping 34.

Once again it's Trbojevic who dominates the average metres per game with 165 metres with Dugan eating his dust with 134.

James Tedesco claims the tackle busts title with 146 for the season. Dugan has 91.

His kick defusal percentage is 77.5, while Australian custodian Darius Boyd holds a rating of 93.8%.

Even in average possessions per game, Dugan averages 21.9, while Billy Slater sits at 33.8 uses of the ball.

This weekend McGregor has opted to run with Matt Dufty at fullback with Dugan in the centres.

Now Dufty's numbers are nothing to get excited about but keep in mind the 21-year-old has only played six top-grade games.

In his six appearances he's made six line breaks, set up four tries, scored two of his own and averaged 99 running metres.

Far from groundbreaking but he's well on his way to becoming something special.