*Note language in 6th par.
Josh Dugan says Andrew Fifita’s NRL contract dramas will ultimately make him a better player, and a better person.
St George Illawarra star fullback Dugan had his fair share of problems sorting out his future after he was cut by Canberra for repeated disciplinary issues in March last year.
The NSW representative cost himself a contract with Brisbane due to a social media tirade before landing at the Dragons mid-way through last year and now appears a much more settled individual.
Dugan re-signed with the Dragons in August last year in a deal that will keep him at the club until the end of 2017.
In contrast, Fifita’s future is anything but assured after Canterbury pulled the pin on a four-year deal worth over $3 million on Monday.
The decision came after Fifita told AAP he wished he picked rugby union over league such has been the flak he’d copped for announcing he was leaving the Sharks.
Opinion is divided over whether Fifita’s comments: “If I could go back now, I wish I chose rugby and then I wouldn’t be getting all the s*** I’ve been catching now,” played a role in the Bulldogs’ decision.
However, Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle said Fifita jumped the gun in announcing on Twitter he was set to join the Bulldogs in 2015, before actually signing a contract.
But Dugan says the Kangaroos prop is set to learn some important lessons about life in and away from football as he considers his next move.
“It is tough, that is his future, sometimes it is better to say nothing at all than to say how you feel,” Dugan said.
“I learnt that the hard way and I just hope that he can get something sorted and keep his career in rugby league.
“I definitely feel that it has helped me on and off the field and I think it can help him too.
“I’m always a step behind everything now. I always stop and think before I jump into anything.
“I think that was my problem. Before I was a bit young and dumb and just wanted to speak my mind all the time and now I think about what I want to say and who it is going to get to.
“I learnt from going through it all and I’m sure he will too.”
Dugan returns from a pre-season knee injury for the Dragons’ round five clash with South Sydney at the SCG on Saturday, while Fifita will take the field for his second game back from a shoulder charge suspension for winless Cronulla against the Warriors on Saturday afternoon.