Relief for Dragons as Josh Dugan gets all-clear

RUGBY LEAGUE: Star Dragons fullback Josh Dugan will be on the plane to England within 24 hours after scans cleared him of any serious knee damage from the Charity Shield match against South Sydney.

The 20-man St George-Illawarra squad will head to England in two groups today and tomorrow to prepare for the inaugural World Club Series later this month.

Brisbane and South Sydney, as well as leading English clubs Warrington, Wigan and St Helens will also play in the tournament.

The Dragons are scheduled to take on Warrington next Friday, and team physiotherapist Dan Lawson said he was confident Dugan would be available for selection after hyper-extending his knee against the Rabbitohs.

"Josh has undergone his MRI scans which have indicated he has a small knee sprain which will not impede him being able to travel to the UK for the World Club Series," Lawson said.

"We expect him to resume regular training once the travelling squad commences their preparations for the match against Warrington later in the week."

Prop Jack de Belin, who missed the Charity Shield match with a virus, has also been included in the Dragons squad. Coach Paul McGregor has picked his strongest possible squad for the World Club Series, including halves Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop, representative forwards Ben Creagh and Trent Merrin, and new recruits Dane Nielsen and George Rose.

Also named is rookie Fijian winger Eto Nabuli who has put his hand up to replace Brett Morris in the No.2 jersey.

Nabuli was famously 'discovered' by NRL greats Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler, working as a hotel porter in Natadola, Fiji.

Struck by his incredible physique, the pair was instrumental in getting Nabuli an opportunity with the Penrith Panthers last season, despite the fact he had never played rugby league.

But after starring in last year's NSW Cup, the 26-year-old was unable to secure a new deal with the Panthers, who already had a host of wingers including Josh Mansour, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, David Simmons and Kevin Naiqama.

The Dragons were happy to take him on, and judging by his efforts in the Auckland Nines when he scored three tries, and showed blistering pace to set up others for Dugan and Marshall, he could be the next in a long production line of flying Fijian wingers to make their mark in the NRL.


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