Give Dugan time before elevating his star again
May 19th, 2013, 04:57 AM
Sport has become such a big business that it needs villains and heroes to be sold to the masses in billion dollar bundles.
It is not just a contest between two teams, but also entertainment for hundreds of thousands.
So the players take on the role of characters and, as with every great drama, there needs to be heroes and villains.
Josh Dugan has played both roles throughout his career.
The local hero who rose through the ranks to score tries, bust tackles and play State of Origin.
The villain who chose social media to vent his growing frustration at his surrounds while lying on a rooftop – a move that led to the senior playing group in Canberra publicly condemning him.
All of this from a man who has both thrived and wilted under the glaring spotlight at just 23 years of age.
You don’t get as much drama in a series of a hit television show.
Cold days on a building site helped Dugan clear his head, but it also let the realisation sink in that playing rugby league for a living is reserved for a privileged few.
Last night, Dugan returned from his rugby league exile.
His first half performance was flawless, as he chimed into the Dragons backline and defused bombs like he had never been away.
His running game and kick returns gave an x-factor to a side that far too often has been a bit stale with the ball in hand.
The second half brought two tries and he had a third ruled out because of an obstruction from Michael Weyman.
Dugan’s talent has never been in question, but it takes more than that to have a long and successful career, not just in the NRL, but as a professional athlete.
We seek instant redemption for the returning star and proclaim all is forgotten because of 80 minutes of athletic endeavor.
It’s a well-worn cycle right around the world.
Return, star, incident, outcast, return and star.
Time is afforded to no one but, in this case, time is exactly what Dugan needs.
He doesn’t need to be Josh Dugan – superstar fullback – yet.
He just needs to be Josh Dugan – professional rugby league player – and fulfil that role with consistency over many seasons.
Dugan spoke after the game of how he “just wanted to fit in” and how he had been “welcomed with open arms,” by those at the club.
Indeed, he was embraced by his team-mates like a long lost son after each try.
Maintaining the trust and belief they have in him is now the biggest task.
It was a good return to the game – one that brought a proud and wide smile to the face of his father who was sitting in the stands with his St George Illawarra jersey on.
Let’s hope his son can stay in that jersey for a long time to come.
Article link: Give Dugan time before elevating his star again. Written by Luke Doherty, on The Roar - Your Sports Opinion