Early baby could rule Dugan out of decider

NSW fullback Josh Dugan could be forced to withdraw from the Origin decider to attend the birth of his first child in Brisbane.

Dugan wants to be with his former partner Amanda Palmer, who is due to give birth on July 20, just three days after game three.

However, Palmer lives in Queensland, leaving Dugan with a difficult decision to make if his son is born prematurely.

The Dragons’ No.1 says he wants to be there for the birth of his first child, but is hopeful he won’t have to leave until after the Origin decider at ANZ Stadium on July 17. ”She’s about two weeks off,” Dugan said. ”But I definitely want to head up there for the birth.”

Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston found himself in a similar predicament leading into game one of the series, and his position in the side was determined by which day his first child would be born.

While Dugan is in a different situation having split from Palmer, who already has a daughter, it hasn’t diminished his intent on being by her side when his child is born.

”It’s going to be massive,” Dugan said. ”It’s life-changing and I’m really looking forward to becoming a father. I definitely want to be there.”

When Dugan was axed by the Raiders after his Instagram antics with Blake Ferguson after NRL round one, it appeared he’d found a new home in Queensland with the Broncos. The deal was the best outcome for the 23-year-old, who could be close to Palmer.

However, an Instagram tirade against a Canberra fan cost Dugan his contract at the Broncos and the chance to be close to his child.

He has since found a home at St George Illawarra and has been the joint-venture club’s best player since his first game, against Parramatta in round 10, earning a recall to the NSW team after a two-year hiatus from the Origin arena.

While he seems to have his career back on track, the former Raiders fullback conceded it would be tough living in a different state to his only child. ”It’s going to be very difficult,” he said. ”But you have to work around it, and that’s the plan.”

The news of Dugan’s potential withdrawal couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Blues. Winger Jarryd Hayne was ruled out of the decider on Monday after failing to overcome a hamstring injury he suffered playing for Parramatta against the Roosters in round 13.

If the birth of Dugan’s child comes later, he could miss St George Illawarra’s next match, against Souths on July 22.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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