'He hasn’t learnt': Josh Dugan's 'sad' truth after fresh scandal

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  • Josh Dugan
    Australian rugby league footballer
Pictured here, Josh Dugan has blood on his face during a game for Cronulla in the NRL.
The latest controversy surrounding Josh Dugan has thrown his future in the NRL in doubt. Pic: Getty

The saddest thing about Josh Dugan's rugby league epitaph – soon to be written - is there will be little mention of just how good a player he was.

Just like another former Canberra bad boy - Todd Carney – the story will be all about how a gifted player threw it all away due to an inability to pull his head in.

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Dugan has been a human headline for a decade.

There was the Barcardi breezer episode, the drinking in Origin camp episode, the missed flight episode and the Airlie Beach nightclub episode.

Do we need to go on? 

Dugan is back in the news after allegedly breaching Covid restrictions by travelling to Lithgow late Friday night, apparently to feed some animals ahead of a move to the area.

Sounds plausible enough.

After cops ordered them back to Sydney, Dugan and his travelling companion allegedly doubled down by attempting to travel away from the city via another route.

Police on Monday charged Dugan with two Covid-19 breaches.

The out-of-favour Sharks utility denies the claims and intends fighting the charges, but he won’t be back in the NRL regardless of the outcome.

It's the second time in two months he's been investigated for an alleged Covid breach. 

As Brad Fittler said: "It's a bit sad. The things around behaviour challenging Josh at the start of his career are still challenging him at the end of his career. 

"He hasn’t learnt."

Despite everything, Dugan somehow managed to squeeze in 215 NRL games for three clubs, 12 Origin appearances for the Blues and 12 Tests for Australia.

Cronulla has already moved on from Dugan, opting not to bring him into their Queensland bubble despite a shortage of outside backs so bad they've often used forwards in the centres.

Pictured here, Cronulla Sharks player Josh Dugan watches on during a pre-season game.
Josh Dugan is facing an uncertain future in rugby league after being accused of breaching the NRL's Covid-19 protocols. Pic: Getty

The Sharks can't wait to move on from the drama Dugan brings, along with the $800,000 dropped into his bank account each year.

At his best, the rangy utility back is a genuine attacking threat and a tough and reliable defender.

He'd be a good pick-up, at reduced freight, for a team looking to add to its backline depth.

But the baggage he brings has scared them all off.     

Even Canterbury, one of the worst-performing teams of the NRL era, took one look at Dugan and said 'yeah, nah'.

Melbourne, with more redemption stories than the Bible, shot back a quick and emphatic "No" when we contacted them about Dugan.  

There isn't a single club interested in signing the former representative back, even at a much reduced price.

Fittler is right. It's sad.

Courageous Roosters defy odds again

If the Roosters were a movie, they'd be Terminator.

Nothing can kill this club off.

Already without Josh Morris, Luke Keary, Angus Crichton, Lindsay Collins, Joseph Suaalii, Billy Smith, Matt Ikuvalu and Victor Radley – and with Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend in retirement - the Chooks lost Adam Keighran (concussion) and Nat Butcher (leg) as the Dragons came to get them in Toowoomba on Sunday.

Prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves – his body still recovering from being concertinaed – skipper James Tedesco and rookie half Sam Walker took it upon themselves to rally their side.

Seen here, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves cries out in agony after a nasty incident against the Dragons.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was in a world of hurt after a nasty incident against the Dragons. Pic: AAP

From two points down, the Roosters scored four unanswered tries to blow away a Dragons side playing for their season.

It was an incredible display of skill, courage and simple will-to-win not seen in a lot of teams who have far healthier rosters.

If Trent Robinson's side can cling onto a top four spot, it will be one of the truly great achievements in NRL history.

And if they go on to win the premiership?

Well, maybe they'll make a movie about that someday.

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