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Hutchison deserves Dragons No.7 says Dugan

AAP logoAAP 24/10/2016 James MacSmith

Drew Hutchison deserves the chance to make the St George Illawarra No.7 shirt vacated by Benji Marshall his own, according to the NRL club's No.1 player Josh Dugan.

The 21-year-old playmaker will battle it out in the pre-season with Josh McCrone and Kurt Mann for the chance to join England international Gareth Widdop in the Dragons' halves in 2017.

But after steering the Dragons feeder club Illawarra Cutters to victory in the NSW Cup via the match-winning field goal, and the Interstate Championship, Dugan believes Junior Kangaroos representative Hutchison deserves his chance.

"He controlled the park well in those big games, he did his job well and that is all you can ask of a young halfback," Dugan told AAP.

"He kicked that field goal and he produced in those big games. He has shown what he has got.

"He was one of the best through those few big games and anytime he has played first grade he has done well and I dare say he deserves first crack at that halfback spot next year.

"He has done everything he can to put his name forward."

Hutchison has played four NRL games for the Dragons over the past two seasons. He was called into first grade by coach Paul McGregor for the penultimate game of last season for Marshall against Parramatta and scored his first NRL try.

Marshall returned to play in the final round win over Newcastle and has signed a one-year deal with Brisbane.

The Dragons struggled in 2016. But Dugan said the efforts of the Cutters would give the club plenty of momentum and depth heading into 2017.

"It is always a positive when your reserve grade side and blokes who you know and have trained with all year have that success," NSW and Kangaroos centre Dugan said.

"To win the NSW Cup and Interstate Cup is great for the boys but it is also a step in the right direction for the club,"

Dugan nominated Hutchison, who is off contract at the end of 2017, as one player capable of taking the club forward next year.

"You have Taane Milne, Drew and Shaun Nona as well, he is a great little player," Dugan said.

"He has done a few sessions with us this year and he will come into the training squad and we will see how he goes.

"There are those other boys like Siliva Havili and Josh McCrone who have that first grade experience so there is a lot to work with there."

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