Cronulla's Josh Dugan has hit back at Gorden Tallis, following calls from the Broncos legend for Dugan to consider retirement due to his record of injury issues.
Tallis was vocal on Dugan's injury woes last month, suggesting on Fox League that the 29-year-old should consider hanging up the boots after receiving a big hit in last month's two-point loss to Brisbane.
“Whether he’s actually injured or whether he’s carrying that many injuries into the game, it’s sad watching a guy do that,” Tallis said at the time.
“Last night [against Brisbane in round 16] — the knock that he had — I don’t think it was that hard. He runs out swathed in bandages from his ankle to his neck and it’s sad watching him.
‘If that was my son, I wouldn’t want him to play like that ... I’d say, ‘Son, it’s time to give up’.”
Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Dugan pulled no punches regarding his thoughts over the Raging Bull's comments, adamantly defending his fitness and injury record.
“That’s his opinion - he’s allowed his, I’m allowed mine, and I think it’s a load of crap,” Dugan said.
“I’ve missed two games all year and feel like I’ve been pretty good on the field and still have a lot to give.
“It’s water off a duck’s back for me. These ex-players need to have a heated opinion. That’s the way it is. I don’t watch the news or read papers or buy into the talk shows. I’m a footy player, I go out and play football and do my job, and I feel l’ve done that on the field.
“I don’t stay down. I had three subluxed ribs from Darius Boyd’s accidental knee, and when I played against Melbourne the next week I strained my hammy when I slipped on the surface, but I had three painkillers just to play in that game.
“People can judge. Every player goes into games with niggles you don’t know about. It’s about maintenance for me.’’
Dugan had not directly responded to Tallis' views until now.
The former Origin star may have given a not-so-subtle suggestion to Tallis directly after the comments though, after Dugan scored a try and then made a "shoosh" gesture towards the cameras.