Josh Dugan of the Dragons runs with the ball.
Josh Dugan of the Dragons runs with the ball. PAUL MILLER

Josh Dugan signs four-year deal with Sharks

JOSH Dugan will enter NSW Origin camp with his future secured after signing a four-year deal worth $750,000 a season with premiers the Cronulla Sharks.

Putting an end to six months of uncertainty and conjecture from St George Illawarra management over Dugan's worth, the 27-year-old has decided to leave the Red V after five years to join the Sharks in 2018.

Despite Dugan receiving public support from coach Paul McGregor, the Dragons recruitment staff had made no secret of their preparedness to let him go, convinced that he only be retained at the worth of an NRL centre and not his regular starting position, fullback.

Ironically, it was as a centre replacement for Brisbane-bound Jack Bird that provoked Cronulla into luring the Origin and Test star.

"Josh will bring quality and experience to our backline next year and to sign the current Origin and Australian Test centre is major coup for the club and for our future," Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said.

"We have a number of exciting young backs coming through our grades and Josh's experience will be invaluable in helping with their continued development.

"He is looking forward to being part of the development of players such as Val Holmes and as to where he might play for next year, quite simply he is the current Test right centre and who can also play fullback which is a bonus for our club."

The Dragons are likely to look to rising stars Matt Dufty and Jai Field as replacement options for Dugan. However, South Sydney's Alex Johnston, who remains uncontracted for 2018, could emerge as a target.

Dugan has chosen to waiver the 10-day cooling off period, informing McGregor of his decision on Saturday.

News Corp Australia

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