By Rachael Price
St George Illawarra Dragons centre Josh Dugan is mindful of the extra attention his side of the paddock will be receiving when they take on the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday.
The NSW Blues State of Origin representative recognises the increase in intensity will be directed at former Tigers halfback Benji Marshall but knows Marshall will not let that distract him from their goal.
The 24-year-old is content playing at centres and enjoys passing on his experience to young fullback Adam Quinlan who replaced Dugan in the position when Paul McGregor was appointed Head Coach.
“My body is a bit battered and bruised after Monday night, but that’s what you expect from playing one of the best teams in the competition,” said Dugan.
“We held them at 20 points and that was pleasing but we know we have things to work on and that’s what we’re focusing on in training.
“I’m loving my place in the centres; I’m building on my experience every week and trying to improve.
“We are tightening up our defence down the sides after what happened the other night but there were just a few mix-ups and we don’t have much to worry about.
“We are definitely expecting a bit more attention down my side of the field this week because of Benji.
“I have no doubt that Benji sees this game like any other and will try to do his best for the team.
“We’re at the business end of the season now and we have to knuckle down and pull through.
“I’m hoping to stay in the centres for the rest of the season, it’s up to Mary, but as long as I’m in form I don’t see why I can’t stay there.
“When I can I give Quinlan a few little tips and pointers, but he’s a great player and he’s doing a great job for us; he’s only going to continue to improve.
“The Tigers have a good, young side and they would’ve gained a lot of confidence from last week.
“We have to be ready for it and expect anything from them; we just have to turn up and do our job.”