Canberra Raiders chief executive Don Furner has slammed the door on Wests Tigers or any other club poaching NSW Origin debutant Josh Dugan next season.
The Tigers have been repeatedly linked in the past fortnight to making a play to lure Dugan for next year.
But both clubs are adamant it is no chance of happening.
The departures of Tigers fullback Wade McKinnon and utility Tim Moltzen have intensified the speculation but Furner reiterated Dugan is signed to the Raiders for next year.”They’d be wasting their breath if they are trying to talk to him,” Furner said.
“There is no chance in the world we’ll be releasing him ahead of next season. Josh has got a contract with us until the end of next year and that’s the end of it.”
Dugan made his State of Origin debut for the Blues in May before an ankle injury ruined his hopes of featuring in the rest of the series.
The Raiders fullback was again absent last night against the Sharks but is considered a possibility to return against Melbourne next Sunday.
Off contract at the end of next season, Dugan is guaranteed to become one of the most in-demand players on the market. The Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons are already believed to be targeting him.
The Green Machine are confident of announcing a number of contract extensions over the next month, headed by rising stars Shaun Fensom, Blake Ferguson and Jarrod Croker.
In a major coup for the club, emerging backrower Fensom is expected to announce as early as tomorrow he will be remaining in the national capital until the end of 2014.
“We’re not recruiting at the moment because we’re really happy with the emerging talent we’ve got coming through the club. So for us it’s all about retention,” Furner said.
Wests Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys said he was frustrated with the continued speculation linking his club with Dugan.
“We’ve not spoken to anyone about Dugan and he’s under contract,” he said.
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