Dugan Centre Of Attention

Dugan - St George Illawarra Dragons
Dugan hell-bent on regaining a Blues jersey. Source: Brett Costello/News Limited

St George-Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks
Win Stadium
Saturday June 7 – 7:35 PM (AEST)

Sharks: LWLLL

Josh Dugan is once again in the mix for a blues jersey. But this time he is aiming for a centre position. To cover for the injured Josh Morris, St George-Illawarra Dragons  interim-coach Paul Macgregor has pushed Dugan into the centres to see if he can thrive there. It’s the right game to do it in, because the toothless Sharks are enduring their worst start to season in recent memory.

Benji Marshall may still be grabbing all the headlines, for all the wrong reasons mind you, but the big talking point is Dugan’s switch to the centres. Gunning for a spot in the sky blue, Dugan is once again pushed up in the defensive line. Trialling there last week against the Rabbitohs, he was caught out of position too many times to make him a certainty for an Origin call-up. He has one more game to push his claim, or he will most certainly be watching Game 2, instead of playing it. Trent Merrin returns to the starting side, pushing Tyson Frizell to the bench. Mike Cooper and Jack De Belin return to the 17, with Shane Pumipi and Will Matthews rounding out a six-man bench.

The Sharkies are having their worst start to season since the Ricky Stuart days. It might be a hangover from the ASADA controversy, or the plague of injuries surrounding them, but they just cannot find their groove. While it’s still possible for them to make the finals this year, it will take a minor miracle. Last year’s cut-off for the finals was 28 points, and with the Sharks sitting on just 6 points, they have to win 11 of their last 13 games. Like I said; 'minor miracle'. Nathan Gardner gets his chance at fullback, pushing Michael Gordon to the centres. Jacob Gagan (wing) and Fa’amanu Brown (five-eighth) are both set to make their debut. Siosaia Vave and Luke Lewis return to the starting side, pushing Sam Tagataese and Tinirau Arona to the interchange. David Fifita and Tupou Sopoaga make up the five-man bench.

Without Paul Gallen and Todd Carney, the Sharks would be an easy win for any other team. But the Dragons aren’t going all that great either, so it could be a case of 'whoever does the basics right' wins.

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