JOSH Dugan was sensationally dropped for the Dragons’ must-win clash with the Panthers after falling foul of the team’s leadership group for a seemingly trivial error.
Dugan reportedly missed the team bus for the trip to Penrith and was ruthlessly dumped as a result.
It’s a massive call by captain Gareth Widdop and his lieutenants, considering the stakes against arguably the form team of the competition, with St George Illawarra needing a win to keep their dwindling finals hopes alive.
According to Fox League reporter Lara Pitt, it was not the first time Dugan had missed the bus, which was taken into consideration when the call was made to drop the star fullback/centre.
Pitt reported that Dugan drove himself to the ground and was told he would not play.
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The huge call forced a reshuffle, with Kurt Mann switched from halfback to the centres, Josh McCrone promoted off the bench to play halfback and Kalifa Faifai Loa coming onto the bench.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor is expected to address the Dugan dumping with the media immediately after the match.
Speaking in the pre-game for Fox League, Braith Anasta was stunned by the leadership group’s decision, which may spell the end for Dugan’s Dragons career, as he departs for Cronulla at season’s end.
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“They’re saying that he missed the team bus and then on the bus on the way to the ground, the leadership group decided to not play him,” Anasta said.
“That’s a big call by them … he’s not on good terms with his teammates and his side, because for missing the team bus, it’s a bit of a tough call to see him miss out on the game, especially being so critical and a must-win game for the Dragons up against the Panthers, so it’s a surprise to all of us.”
Dugan had been active on Twitter in the lead-up to Sunday’s game, expressing his disappointment that he was unable to attend the College Football game at ANZ Stadium.
His tweets caused some backlash from Dragons fans, with Dugan qualifying that he was still prepared for his side’s do-or-die game.
“I’m also gutted that I won’t get to see the (Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor) fight live but doesn’t mean my head isn’t ready for the game. Some people are way to (sic) impressionable,” he tweeted.
Originally published as Stunning reason for Dugan dumping
Source: sports dailytelegraph