St George Illawarra Dragons fullback Josh Dugan is expecting nothing less than a tough encounter when representing the NSW Blues against the Queensland Maroons in the second State of Origin fixture at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 17.
The Dragons custodian, alongside teammates Trent Merrin, is part of a 17-man squad named by Laurie Daley for the tussle south of the state border.
The NSW Blues will require nothing less than victory if they are to level the series at one-game apiece but welcome back captain Paull Gallen into the fold.
The NSW captain missed the opening encounter which saw the Blues downed 11-10 on home turf but Dugan believes the skipper’s inclusion will be paramount to turning the tide.
"It's always good to be back in camp alongside all the boys and Im looking forward to the week which will involve several different conitioning and skills sessions amongst other things," said Dugan.
"We have our base in and around Coffs Harbour which is a massive benefit for us being away from the fishbowl of Coogee and being able to hideaway and simply concentrate solely on the task at hand.
"It will be a very special career highlight for me playing at the MCG but even better doing so alongside Paul Gallen who returns as captain.
"He is a big boost for our team and I don't think he will let anyone down.
"We know that Queensland will be throwing everything they have at us to prevent us from levelling the series which is why the build-up to the game in the way we prepare is going to be important."