Green Machine’s Dugan Won’t be Wearing Blue for Origin 2
In an early blow for the New South Wales Blues ahead of their highly-anticipated State of Origin Game II clash with the Queensland Maroons, Canberra Raiders fullback Josh Dugan has been ruled out of contention with injury.
On Sunday night NSW coach Ricky Stewart named his Origin II squad, revealing the players that would take on Queensland next Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium and attempt to steal back some glory making for an Origin decider in game three.
After being recalled to wear the Blues No. 1 Jersey following a solid Origin debut in game one last month, scans have revealed that Dugan will have to sit out the second State v State battle due to an ankle injury.
Dugan sustained the damage during his Canberra club’s 40 – 24 loss to the North Queensland Cowboys last Sunday, later discovering he has syndesmosis and will be out of action for up to five weeks.
With Dugan unavailable, Stewart has called up Sydney Roosters veteran Anthony Minichiello to fill the all-important role of fullback for the Blues.
Minichiello hasn’t donned a Blues jumper since 2007.
Despite being disappointed with having to miss the second round of Origin in front of a sell-out home crowd in Sydney, Dugan said he was focused on trying to get fit in time for the final Origin bout.
“It’s very disappointing to be ruled out with injury but I just have to concentrate on my rehab and make sure I’m right to go for the Raiders as soon as possible,” Dugan said.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to get back onto the field for Canberra and get myself back to 100 per cent.
“If I can do that hopefully I can be selected for game three for NSW and I wish the guys all the best of luck in game two.”
Other changes to the State of Origin Blues squad for Wednesday week’s rematch include the ditching of Dragon’s flyer Brett Morris in favour of Eel’s playmaker Jarryd Hayne.
Happy to resume, Hayne rejected claims that there was tension between himself and Stewart and said he was completely focused on the game.
“I’m just worried about the game, playing wing and doing it to the best of my ability,” Hayne said.
“I just obviously want to go out there and play to the best of my ability and just go from there.
“I don’t want to play because of other people, I play for myself and because I enjoy the sport and it’s a huge honour playing Origin.”
Hayne was controversially overlooked for Game I by Stewart, and many NRL experts are questioning the decision not to play Hayne in fullback.
“It’s always been about putting on a Blues’ jersey and I’ll pretty much play anywhere,” said 2009 Dally M Medal winner Hayne of his allocation on the wing.
Michael Jennings has also been omitted from the second game, with young Manly player William Hopate to play on the wing in No. 3 for New South Wales making his Origin debut.
Kade Snowden from the Sharks has also failed to receive a call-up, Parramatta’s Tim Mannah awarded the No. 10 jersey.
In the latest 2011 State of Origin Betting markets, New South Wales are the $2.20 underdogs with defending champions Queensland tipped to win their sixth straight series at a quote of $1.67 for game two.
2011 NSW State of Origin II Team
|6||Jamie Soward||Five Eighth|
|11||Beau Scott||Second Row|
|12||Ben Creagh||Second Row|