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Dugan's best NRL in front of him: Flanagan

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/05/2017 Matt Encarnacion
Josh Dugan of Australia celebrates scoring a try during the ANZAC Test match between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis on May 5, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. © Mark Nolan/ Getty Images Josh Dugan of Australia celebrates scoring a try during the ANZAC Test match between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis on May 5, 2017 in Canberra, Australia.

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan is adamant high-profile recruit Josh Dugan's best form is ahead of him as the Sharks aim to build a dynasty around him when he arrives next NRL season.

Speaking for the first time about the club's smash-and-grab from rivals St George-Illawarra, Flanagan also insisted there was no guarantee over what position Dugan would play in 2018.

"I just said to Josh in our meetings that I'm not guaranteeing that he's playing fullback. He might play fullback, but he might play centre," Flanagan said.

"All I said to him was, 'I want good players at my club and you definitely fit that category.

"'You're a Test player and just come to our club, you'll enjoy it, play first grade, and hopefully play semi-finals in the next four years back-to-back. That's what we're trying to achieve."

Dugan's signing means the club could boast arguably the best roster in the competition next season, with six former or current Kangaroos representatives.

Flanagan recalled how he had long desired luring representative players to the Shire since taking over as head coach seven years ago.

"I want Australia and Origin players at our club. For us to recruit the current Test centre and Origin centre is fantastic and a great scoop for the club," he said.

"We're looking forward for him to come next year. Where he'll play, we'll see how it goes in the off-season but he'll definitely be in our team and we're going to be a better team for it."

Flanagan also believes that, at 27 years of age, Dugan's heading into the prime of his career.

"Josh Dugan at Canberra, Josh Dugan when he started at the Dragons, and Josh Dugan now at the Dragons, he's a leader. He's in their leadership group," he said.

"He's a completely changed man and I think his best footy's in front of him as well."

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