St George Illawarra Dragons fullback Josh Dugan is honoured to be leading the team when they compete in the NRL Auckland Nines tournament at Eden Park, Auckland this weekend.

The Australia international has been named captain of the travelling 18-man squad for the two-day tournament and will be joined by new recruits including Tim Lafai, Dunamis Lui, Josh McCrone, Mose Masoe and Kurt Mann.

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Dugan admits he has been impressed in particular by the footwork of new addition Mann and expects big things from the former Melbourne Storm player.

“It’s an honour to be named captain of the team in any format or competition as it is such a great Club,” said Dugan.

“It is a fun tournament to be a part of and there is a large prize at the end of it if you’re the successful team to go all the way.

“I’m still not sure where I’ll be playing come the new season as I have been training in both the centres and as fullback as has Kurt Mann.

“We need to see how we both perform in the upcoming trials and go from there.

“I’ve expressed my interest in playing in the centres but at the same time I know what I can do at fullback but wherever I play I know I’ll be happy.

“Kurt has been training the house down all pre-season and he’s probably been one of our best.

“He reads the game well and is a smart player and also boasts dangerous footwork as well.”

NRL Nines Squad:

Euan Aitken, 
Jack de Belin, 
Matt Dufty, 
Josh Dugan (c), 
Kalifa Faifai Loa, Jay Gallagher, 
Yaw Kiti Glymin, 
Jacob Host, 
Drew Hutchison, Sebastine Ikahihifo, 
Tim Lafai
, Dunamis Lui
, Kurt Mann
, Jake Marketo
, Josh McCrone
, Mose Masoe, 
Peter Mata’utia, 
Mitch Rein

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The Dragons have been included in the Piha Pool alongside the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Gold Coast Titans and Canberra Raiders in the two-day tournament to be staged on Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7.

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