Dugan back, but don't expect miracles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dugan back, but don't expect miracles

Joe Barton 23/04/2011 06:01:31 PM Comments (0)

Dynamic Raiders fullback Josh Dugan will make his return to the NRL against Newcastle on Sunday, but Canberra have warned not to expect him at his tackle-busting best straight away.

A calf injury has restricted Dugan to just 105 minutes of football this year and ended his round three match against the Gold Coast after only 25 minutes, but Dugan is confident he is ready after admitting he rushed back too early the first time around.

"The doctor said to me the way to gauge it is if it hurts, don't do it and I wouldn't have trained fully this week if it was hurting," he said before Canberra's final training session on Saturday.

"I came back probably too early, everyone was saying it was just a cork and that's all we thought it was as well, so we thought that I couldn't do any more damage and so I just kept trying to play and it kind of put me back longer."

Coach David Furner will recall the talented 20-year-old and captain Alan Tongue (shoulder) to the starting 13 at Canberra Stadium - with backrower Joe Picker ruled out and winger Reece Robinson dropped, while Blake Ferguson reverts back to his favoured right wing position.

But both Furner and Dugan himself admitted that Dugan's return was not the miracle cure for ending the Raiders' five-match losing streak.

"(Having Dugan back) makes our back three fairly dangerous, but it's about completing sets and having those back three getting their hands on the ball early and getting the team forward is quite crucial," Furner explained.

"The leadership of Alan Tongue in the side would definitely help guide us on the field, but I think we've played some good footy."

Dugan added that he felt Canberra were lacking confidence and had struggled to handle the hype they took into the year when many pundits tagged them as premiership contenders.

"I think the boys are just lacking confidence," he said.

"We had all the hype on us early in the year and we got off to a good start against theSharks and we've lost the last five since.

"We need to pick our season back up and get our confidence back as well and a win will help that.

"I think (the hype was a hindrance).

"We've got one of the biggest forward packs in the comp and I think teams have learned how to rattle us and that's get in our faces, but we need to start doing it back to other teams and that again comes down to confidence."

In further good news for the Raiders, talismanic five-eighth Terry Campese remains on track for a round 13 return against North Queensland.

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