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NRL leaves door open for Dugan return

Josh Dugan

The path for Josh Dugan's return to the NRL is clearing, but nobody knows just how long it might be.
NRL leaves door open for Dugan return
by AAP

By Joe Barton

SYDNEY, April 4 AAP - The path for Josh Dugan's return to the NRL is clearing, but nobody knows just how long it might be.

NRL chief executive David Smith left the door for Dugan's return ajar on Thursday, but also revealed no club had made a formal request to register a new contract for the troubled star.

On Tuesday Dugan met with NRL representatives to reportedly undergo psychological analysis - where it was established the 22-year-old had "no major issues" and no clinical diagnosis that would hold him back from returning to football.

Dugan's social media faux pas led to the termination of his contract at Canberra, while a second online outburst ended negotiations on a $2 million deal with Brisbane.

But it is believed Dugan has convinced those at the NRL that he will be able to navigate this turbulent period of his career and make a successful return to the football field.

"We're positive that we can get him playing football again," NRL welfare and education manager Paul Heptonstall told AAP on Thursday.

"We had a positive meeting."

But just how soon is dependent on whether the one-time NSW representative can entice an offer from St George Illawarra, understood to be his last option to stay in the NRL.

Smith said Dugan and the NRL were working through "a process" but refused to put a timeframe on how long that might take.

"I think that's running through the process," Smith said.

"I've got nothing more to say in terms of whether he'll be registered or not registered, but the process is under way and I'm comfortable with the way it's playing out.

"We haven't received a request to register yet so the salary cap auditor (Ian Schubert) is working it through as are all ongoing discussions with Josh in terms of welfare and other things.

"The process is underway, there's no registration (that has) been applied.

"We'll let the process run its course. I'm really comfortable with the way the clubs have reacted and responded and we'll work with the player.

"At the end of the day it's about (Dugan's) welfare."


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