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Cronulla have revealed veteran Josh Dugan will travel to Papua New Guinea for the Sharks’ historic NRL trial against Canterbury in Papua New Guinea.
The 29-year-old remains sidelined indefinitely with a chronic knee condition amid speculation club officials investigated medically retiring the veteran in recent weeks.
While he won’t play in Saturday’s pre-season clash against the Bulldogs at PNG Football Stadium, Dugan will join a young Sharks squad as a club ambassador from Thursday.
“Josh is a marquee player, not just at the Sharks but throughout the NRL and his presence will have a huge impact on the locals we come into contact with in PNG,” Sharks General Manager of Football Phil Moss said.
“It is an important role for him to play, he is an extremely popular figure amongst the locals and the PNG rugby league fraternity and having him attend some of the community events and initiatives we have planned will be well received.
“… We are sending a relatively young squad, so having Josh up there as a high-profile player we feel will be important for our brand and add to the experience during our time in PNG.”
Meanwhile, Dugan’s return date remains a mystery as he battles arthritis in his right knee.
The ex-Canberra and St George Illawarra star was this week scheduled to consult two separate knee specialists in a bid to get to the bottom of his career-threatening condition.
Dugan, who this month took to social media to refute claims he is faking injury to avoid playing, is considered no chance to play in the Sharks’ season-opener against the Dragons on March 14.
He is contracted to Cronulla until the end of the 2021 season and will earn a reported $970,000 in 2020.
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