Dugan not getting hopes up of Blues return

Dec 5, 2017 - 2:00 AM Josh Dugan isn't getting his hopes up of being welcomed back by NSW next year in the wake of the chorus of criticism directed at him in 2017.

Dugan put a turbulent four months behind him to play a key role in Australia's World Cup final win over England on Saturday night.

The Cronulla recruit pulled off one of the biggest plays of the game when he came up with an ankle tap on opposite Kallum Watkins, who was sailing towards the try line late in the game.

He described the 6-0 victory as the "pinnacle" of his career and said it proved he could be a positive influence on a representative team after being shrouded in controversy this year.

"I'm not going to get my hopes up," Dugan said when asked if he's expecting to be picked for the Blues next year.

"I think the way things were handled last year, it was a bit tough. For me it's about enjoying (the World Cup win), going back to Cronulla in January and putting my best foot forward for them."

The 27-year-old was criticised after it was revealed he had gone out drinking with teammate Blake Ferguson five days out from the Blues' State of Origin three loss in July.

He reiterated his defence that the incident had been blown out of proportion and it had not affected his build-up.

He was also axed from St George Illawarra's side in round 25 after missing a team bus.

But Dugan argued he could be a positive contributor and had proven that during the two-month World Cup campaign.

"I've been in camp for eight weeks with these guys and not one slip up," Dugan said.

"To be honest it's just media hype around Origin and it was blown way out of proportion.

"I don't think I've done anything differently here. I train hard, I play hard. At the end of the day that's all I can do."

Dugan gets a chance for a fresh start at the Sharks next year and said he had grown during the World Cup, with the influence of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk rubbing off on him.

"Any time you get around players like Smithy, Coops and Bill, you can learn a lot from them," Dugan said.

"I've definitely done that over the last 18 months.

"Just their professionalism and character off the field, they're just champions."

Source: AAP

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