Coach Paul McGregor has confirmed Josh Dugan will return to fullback for St George Illawarra with Dylan Farrell nearing a return to action.
St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has confirmed he’ll switch Josh Dugan back to fullback after next month’s final State of Origin clash.
McGregor’s first move when he took over from Steve Price last month was to shift Dugan to right centre for the first time in his NRL career – the role he then filled for NSW in game two.
However, with Dylan Farrell edging towards a return to action against North Queensland next week after tearing his pectoral muscle in round six, McGregor expects to restore Dugan to his favoured position after Origin three on July 9.
“Dylan Farrell is back either next week or the week after and he’s the only genuine right-sided centre at the club,” McGregor said.
“Dylan was brought here to play first grade, Duges was brought here to play first grade … but it’s the best fit for the team at the moment to have Duges on that right edge and he’s done well there.
“It’s a credit to our medical staff and a credit to Dylan that he’s back and he’ll play either next week with or with the feeder club, then we have the bye.
“When you think a torn pec it’s usually the year, but he’ll be back in three months.”
Dugan will be selected once more in the centres when Laurie Daley names his NSW side next Tuesday and McGregor said the former Canberra star has demonstrated his quality in the manner he had adapted to the new role.
“He certainly handled himself there and went up against (Greg Inglis) a player who will be known as one of the best to play the game,” he said.
“He came out of the other end with a win and made more than 100 metres and over 20 tackles.
“I think he’s done a real good job and nowadays not many people can make that switch from fullback to centre and handle it.
“But it’s a credit to him, he’s a natural footballer.”
Trent Merrin could make a shock return to action against the Storm on Monday after training with the team on Friday and showed no ill effects from the knee injury he sustained against the Gold Coast last Sunday.
“He’s a chance, he’s surprising everyone at the moment,” McGregor said.
“It was not an impact injury it was a muscle one, so at the moment he is running at about 40 to 50 per cent.
“We had about 20 blokes out there running so he didn’t do too much. But it’s positive that he is on the grass and not in the pool. But we’ll assess on Sunday.
“At this stage Jack Stockwell will play.”
One player who will miss the game is prop Dan Hunt who’s still waiting to make his 150th appearance for the club.
“He’s hurt his foot in training,” McGregor said.
“The poor bugger, he’s been stuck on 149 for about four weeks.”