Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen believes Josh Dugan would be an “ideal” fit for the club.
Dugan is off-contract at the end of the season with Cronulla’s bitter local rivals St George Illawarra. The Sharks have been circling the 27-year-old since losing young star Jack Bird who signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Brisbane.
Gallen told the Big Sports Breakfast on Tuesday morning that Dugan would be the perfect replacement for Bird.
"I think he would be a massive plus for our club," he said.
"I think he is a great player obviously and he is a good person… I think he can fit in our club really, really well."
The public courting of Dugan by Cronulla will be a worry for Dragons fans hopeful of keeping the State of Origin and Australian international. Sharks coach Shane Flanagan did not deny the reports that Cronulla were interested in Dugan when speaking to the media last week.
“[Dugan is] an Australian centre, a Test centre at the moment so he’s a quality player. We’ve always said we’re after quality players at our club,” Flanagan said.
The Dragons will welcome Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt to the club next season and have already extended the contract of Paul Vaughan who joined St George Illawarra this season.
But losing Dugan would create a massive hole in the Dragons’ backline.
For Cronulla, the potential addition of Dugan alongside young star Valentine Holmes – who would play fullback regardless of Dugan joining the club – is an exciting proposition.
Dugan is sidelined with a fractured cheekbone suffered in the Anzac Test but could be fit for Origin I on May 31 and will miss the Dragons’ clash with the New Zealand Warriors in Waikato on Friday night.