Jon Tuxworth August 05, 2012
Josh Dugan was outstanding against the Broncos. Photo: Getty Images
An error which could have ended Canberra’s season sparked Josh Dugan’s desire to save it with his late-match heroics against Brisbane yesterday.
Needing to win to keep their finals hopes alive, the Raiders were cruising at 16-6 before Dugan kicked out on the full midway through the second half.
After Brisbane capitalised with a try, the star fullback made a vow to his teammates to atone for his crucial mistake.
He proved true to his word, scoring two brilliant opportunistic tries late in the match, ensuring Canberra remains a hope for September for at least another week.
With five minutes left Dugan evaded a number of tackles in a determined run to the line, and then grubbered and regathered in the dying stages to cap Canberra’s ninth win of the year.
The 22-year-old was guilty of a crucial momentum swing in last week’s 36-6 loss to Newcastle, the Knights scoring after he failed to find touch from a penalty.
But yesterday he was desperate to clean up his own mess.
‘‘I felt it was my fault they had that attacking opportunity, and they ended up scoring off it,’’ Dugan said.
‘‘I said behind the line to the boys, ‘I’m going to make up for it’, and I think I did. It’s just about accountability, you make up for your errors and I think everyone here’s like that, not just me.’’
Dugan was superb yesterday, just his 12th match of the year after enduring another frustrating run of injuries.
He complemented his late brace with 170 metres and 11 tackle breaks in his third game since returning from an ankle injury.
The Raiders are now one of five teams locked on 22 points in equal eighth position heading into the final month of the season.
‘‘We spoke all week that our attitude was going to win us the game and we had to turn our home record around, and we did that,’’ Dugan said.
‘‘Our pride in our line was massive today, we scrambled for everything and they threw a fair bit at us in our own 20 with offloads.
‘‘We were always there and had three or four people around the ball, and that’s what wins sides games.
‘‘We have a habit of winning one and losing one this year, so hopefully we can make it two in a row.’’