Raiders keep Dugan option open

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Kickoff: 7:30pm, Saturday 26 March
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium
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Delahunty
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Re: Raiders keep Dugan option open

Post by Delahunty » Sat 26 Mar, 2011 3:30 pm

Dugan's inclusion forces Tigers to tweak plans against Raiders

Greg Prichard
March 26, 2011
EXCITEMENT machine Josh Dugan completed Canberra's final training session without a problem last night, clearing the way for him to finally make his first NRL appearance of the season in tonight's game against Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

Dugan was not originally named in the side because of a calf injury he sustained in the All Stars game last month, which prevented him from playing in the first two rounds. But after resuming full training on Wednesday he travelled to Sydney as part of a 20-man squad yesterday, and took part in the final run.

He will slot in at fullback, and goal-kicking centre Jarrod Croker, who was originally named in the side but had been in doubt with a quadriceps injury, is also expected to play after taking part in yesterday's session.

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The Raiders began the season in red-hot fashion by thrashing Cronulla at home, but were surprise losers at home to Brisbane in last week's second round. They will greatly appreciate the return of Dugan, whose kick returns are of a consistently high standard. He generally puts the team in a good position from which to start sets, and when the Raiders get into attacking positions he becomes a tremendous support player.

Canberra coach David Furner said yesterday he expected Dugan to settle in pretty quickly.

''He's a natural runner, and that won't change,'' Furner said. ''It's just about getting those combinations right with the halves, and knowing when to chime into the back line. He started doing work on that on Wednesday. 'Doogs' knows what sort of approach we're going to take against the Tigers, and I don't have to change much with him. He's a natural footballer, and I don't want to take that away from him. We're going to need that sort of ability from Josh if we're going to beat the Tigers.''

Both teams have had a win and a loss to start the season, only the opposite way around. The Tigers lost to Canterbury in the opening round, but bounced back to beat the Warriors last weekend. Tigers coach Tim Sheens said yesterday that while he had been preparing the team as if Dugan wasn't playing, the adjustments they would need to make were clear.

''We'll obviously have to make some compensation there,'' Sheens said. ''All we can do during the week is prepare for the team that's been announced, but, in the back of our minds, if he does play we'll have a different strategy. You don't want to give him kicks in good field position, and you certainly don't want to kick straight to him. At least make him work, particularly if he's been injured.''

The Tigers and Raiders met three times last year, and the Tigers won on each occasion. It was 35-22 at Canberra Stadium, in round five, 18-8 at Leichhardt Oval in round 15, and 26-24 at Canberra Stadium in the second week of the finals. Croker had the chance to at least force extra time in the finals match, but missed a straightforward attempt at penalty goal late in the game.

Canberra have a massive pack of forwards, and opposition teams that have smaller and perhaps more mobile packs are trying to use that mobility to move the Raiders around and force them to work harder. The Broncos did that last weekend and the Tigers have done it in the past. Canberra prop David Shillington said yesterday it was up to him and the rest of the forwards to adjust.

''There's been a lot of talk about our pack being a big pack,'' Shillington said. ''But we've talked about the importance of not only being a big pack, but a smart pack as well.

''We have to be intelligent with our runs and our support plays, and mix it up a bit. We gave the Broncos a pretty good chance to get over the top of us. I know myself I was responsible for a pretty crap offload, and tried a couple more, and it really hurt my runs.''


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Post by Zaibatsu » Sat 26 Mar, 2011 4:44 pm

Honestly, I'd like to think our game plan wouldn't change too much due to his inclusion, what were we going to do, go in with a gameplan of putting kicks down Milne's throat and allowing him plenty of space to move on the returns? :roll:

Just keeping an eye on him popping in as a first receiver is the only tweak to re-inforce.

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Post by Kul » Sat 26 Mar, 2011 4:49 pm

2gb confirmed his inclusion
Founder - WestsTigersForum.com

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Post by innsaneink » Sat 26 Mar, 2011 6:56 pm

It was confirmed this morning on ABC radio

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Post by innsaneink » Sat 26 Mar, 2011 11:42 pm

Saw a lot of rushing up 2 or 3 out in defence, cutting off the attack and forcing the ball back into the ruck

Only really saw one poor kick went straight to Fergo...

Good tactics....good field position and completions saw us not have to kick from our own end very much at all

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