Slater tipping Dugan to roll the dice - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Slater tipping Dugan to roll the dice

Wayne Heming 21/05/2011 01:54:03 PM Comments (0)

Rugby league's premier fullback Billy Slater expects rookie NSW rival Josh Dugan to roll the Origin dice in his debut on Wednesday night to keep Jarryd Hayne's challenge for the No.1 jumper at bay.

Slater knows all about rolling the dice and being a hero, or the occasional villain, and he believes Dugan will back himself on the game's biggest stage because he has bundles of self-belief.

Queensland are on Dugan alert with the young Canberra custodian regarded as one of the most dangerous ball runners in the game.

His ability to stride through tackles and twist and turn his way through gaps has drawn comparisons with another former Raiders fullback Brett Mullins, who like Dugan was a specialist at scoring long-range tries.

"I'm sure he'll go into the game feeling he has to play well to hold his spot," Slater said.

"I'm sure Jarryd not being in the side will put a lot of pressure on all the outside backs.

"I don't think you'll see a quiet match from Josh Dugan, he's a great player and he's not afraid to take the game on."

Slater, who will be doing his best to make life difficult for NSW, said Queensland would probably have to stop Dugan 15 to 20 times because he loved to run the football from anywhere on the field.

"He's one of those players who just wants the ball in his hands and we need to be on our guard and not present him with too many opportunities," he said.

"He'll certainly chance his hand.

"He doesn't lack self belief and he'll being going out there to play his natural (attacking) game."

As Slater knows, that style of play can make you a hero or villain, depending how it works out.

"It can, but that's football," said Slater, who has recovered from his own dicing-rolling blunder in the 2008 World Cup final to considered by many as the best fullback to have played the game.

Slater said the whole NSW back-three would be a handful with its speed and power.

"If you give guys likes Dugan, Brett Morris and Akuila Uate a staggered line they'll find this spaces," he said.

Queensland prop Ben Hannant, who got a close-up view of Dugan when they were in camp on the Gold Coast for the All Stars clash in February, agreed Dugan was shaping up as a hot prospect.

"The things he does in training, he's a freak," Hannant said.

"I wouldn't put him in Billy's category yet but he is on his way to being something very special.

"He's got a ton of confidence and he's a player we have to target and do everything right on because if we give him an inch, he'll take a mile."

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