It was a long, long process and a tedious one at that but it is finally all sorted as previously sacked Canberra Raiders fullback is without an NRL club no more, after the St George Illawarra Dragons signed him for the remainder of the 2013 NRL season.
With his previous indiscretions and outbursts well documented, Dugan is just pleased to have a new opportunity in the NRL, one that might prove to be a pathway back to his destructive best.
For Dugan, growing up as a Dragons fan in a Dragons family, it is an exciting moment to don the Red V jersey.
â€œI am extremely appreciative of the opportunity that the Dragons and NRL have provided me and I am really excited about the next chapter of my career,â€ said Dugan.
â€œI am really keen to get back to training, in a team environment and do whatever it takes to get back out on off field.
â€œI have played with a few of the Dragons boys before and am keen to meet the others and play my part in the team.
â€œI grew up a Dragons fan, my whole family supports the Dragons and I am well aware of the pride and history associated with the Club and what the Club expects from me.â€
Given his previous indiscretions, Dragons CEO Peter Doust said that the appropriate measures and precautions were taken, before the club officially signed off on the deal.
â€œThe decision to sign Josh has been taken after thorough investigations of all relevant particulars,â€ said Doust.
â€œWe conducted numerous formal interviews with Josh and had detailed discussions with the NRL, including the review of the outcomes of rehabilitation processes that have been undertaken regularly, over more than nine weeks.
â€œWe believe it is important to note that Josh’s breaches were not of an illegal nature, but rather breaches arising due to poor discipline and decisions.â€
With a Welfare and Education program in place, Doust said that that played a big part in their eventual confirmation of signing Dugan, with player, the club and the NRL working together to find a suitable education path for the talented fullback.
â€œJosh is a young guy who acknowledges that he has had some problems and that he could have made better decisions along the way but he has taken some positive steps towards addressing the areas for concern and is looking for a second chance,â€ said Doust.
â€œWe believe we can deliver a fresh start, supported by our Clubâ€™s well-established processes in player welfare management with ongoing education programs, continuing with what Josh has started at the NRL.
â€œWe have also consulted the NRL, in particular their Education and Welfare Department, with whom Josh has been working since he finished with Canberra and we are fully conversant with the requirements of a successful outcome for all, in the future.
â€œIn conjunction with the NRL, Josh has been working with a career advisor in recent times and has expressed a desire to find a suitable education path with the Dragons.
â€œOur Club has 16 players studying at University & our Graduates of League Program was established by our Captain Ben Creagh in conjunction with the University of Wollongong, enabling our players to align their training and study commitments with the support of specialised tutors.
â€œA further 14 players are studying a diploma, 23 are players are studying for various certificate 1-4 qualifications and nine are in apprenticeship or traineeship programs.â€
Whatever baggage Dugan may bring with him, there is one thing that is for certain, with his talent and with the ability to work and train hard off the field, it might be a matter of time before he plays first-grade once more.
Dragons coach Steve Price said that Dugan, who is officially a Dragon, is more than willing to adhere to club culture and to fit in with the team.
â€œJosh is a young guy who is an extremely talented rugby league player who will be a great addition to our squad, especially with our injury concerns, but it is important that he fits in to our team culture and follows our policies and practices,â€ said Price.
â€œJosh is well aware of what is expected of him at the Dragons and from the conversations that I have had with him, I see no reason why he wonâ€™t be a positive contributor.
â€œHe is extremely appreciative of the opportunity and determined to make the most of his second chance.â€
Echoing his the sentiments of his coach was captain Ben Creagh.
â€œWe are all excited to have a player of Joshâ€™s calibre join the Club and we look forward to having the opportunity to formally meet him over the next couple of days,â€ said Creagh.
â€œJosh is a very talented player who will naturally slot into the fullback role and play an important role for us on the field, especially since we have lost Gerard, for the year, through injury.
â€œI have been across the conversations and developments with the Club and am pleased to hear that he is keen to make the most of his opportunity. I understand he is respectful of the club and our standards.
â€œI am also happy to know that he has been working with the NRLâ€™s Education and Welfare Department and is keen to continue this and have a focus away from rugby league.â€