Mind Over Matter For Dugan
St George Illawarra Dragons fullback Josh Dugan has made it known in the past the struggles a State of Origin campaign can have on a player both physically and mentally.
Along with NSW teammate Jarryd Hayne, both have expressed their thoughts towards player drainage during the representative period in recent times and will put it all one the line on Friday night before heading into camp for Game Three.
Dugan is set to line up against Hayne and the Gold Coast Titans after a five-day turnaround following his side's four-point win over the Knights on Sunday.
While the 27-year-old admitted to being in a good space for the fixture, he said the body required more attention at this stage of the season.
"It's more physically than mentally it drains you in between Origin games," Dugan told NRL.com.
"I've been playing in some tough games of late and backing up with short turnarounds the body can get run down and that in turn can lead to being tired.
"The staff at the Dragons and the Blues have been unreal with recovery and the mental aspect of that so hopefully we can get the job done on Friday and then back into camp for the decider."
Both Dugan and Hayne are two players who have made the fullback to centre switch in representative football with incumbent Australian No.1 Darius Boyd the next to shift roles – this time for the Maroons.
After watching Hayne torment the Wests Tigers in a 10-minute blitz at Campbelltown, the former Raider is wary of what his NSW teammate is capable of when the Dragons take on the Titans this weekend.
"Hopefully he's as tired as me," Dugan laughed.
"For me it's going from centre to fullback in Origin II was tough where as going back to it for club footy is not as bad.
"When I had to make a few tackles and then do all the running in the second half… that was the toughest thing."
Meanwhile, Hayne believes more is needed to be done to ensure players at representative level had enough time to recover and prepare for club football the following weekend.
Eight players from both states either withdrew from injury or were rested following Queensland's two-point win over the Blues in Origin II, while six including Hayne backed up 48-hours later for their respective clubs.
"From a performance point of view these days the body does get a bit beaten up more and especially blokes in the middle," Hayne said.
"They have the more contact where as mine is more my legs and endurance. It's never easy [to back up] but now that we're older you just have to hydrate as much as you can.
"I've never had so much water and powerade in 48 hours. I reckon I had 10 litres [after Origin II] and usually would have to go to the bathroom non-stop but I didn't have to because the muscles were that drained."
The 29-year-old was not happy with the treatment Bulldogs pair Josh Jackson and David Klemmer were given – having to travel to New Zealand after Game Two for a game 48 hours later.
"I thought that was ridiculous," Hayne said.
"As player welfare, I don't think any other sport with common sense would have done that to them, they haven't found a perfect system for it yet.
"We didn't get back to the hotel until 12am and they had to be on a 6am flight the following day, so they had it harder than me."
This article first appeared on NRL.com