Josh Dugan of the Dragons after injuring his elbow against the Rabbitohs on Thursday night. Photo: Matt KingJosh Dugan has been cleared to take his place in the NSW team for Origin I but will be on a restricted training program when the Blues go into camp next week to prepare for the June 1 series opener at ANZ Stadium.
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Dugan has limited movement in his left elbow after hyper-extending it in St George Illawarra’s 26-16 loss to South Sydney on Thursday night but scans have cleared him off any structural damage and Dragons head of medical and performance Tony Ayoub said he would be available for NSW selection when the team is chosen on Sunday night.

“He is pretty sore, he has got limited range and he has had an old elbow injury as well that he has just aggravated but I don’t there is too much to worry about from a State of Origin point of view,” Ayoub said. “We play next Saturday and I would be fairly comfortable he could play for us so he should be able to play Origin the following week.

“There is presently lots of fluid in the joint causing pain and limited range as well as a minor strain to the medial flexor tendon. Fortunately, there is no structural damage and his elbow should settle down within the next week. He will just have a light week next week and he should be alright after that.”

The news is a relief for NSW coach Laurie Daley, who has indicated the 2015 Brad Fittler medal winner as the Blues best player in last year’s series was a certainty for selection when the team is announced on Monday.

Daley is expected to shift Dugan from fullback to right centre, where the Dragons star played for Australia in the trans-Tasman Test against New Zealand earlier this month.

The move enables Daley to select a ball playing fullback in Penrith’s Matt Moylan, while using Dugan to mark Queensland superstar Greg Inglis as previously did in NSW’s 2014 series winning team.

Dugan will again be re-united with his former Canberra team-mate Blake Ferguson on the Blues right edge as they were for in the Kangaroos 18-0 Test win at Hunter Stadium.

Parramatta’s Michael Jennings is expected to edge out Canterbury’s Josh Morris for the left centre spot to play alongside his former Penrith team-mate Josh Mansour.

The pair are friends and Jennings said he was looking forward to resuming his 2012 combination with Mansour if both are selected.

“Our friendship grew from there and he is a really good mate of mine now so if he gets the call up I will be stoked,” Jennings said. “He is so professional off the field with his diet and he does extra training sessions so if he gets the call up for Origin it will be well deserved. His run metres are unbelievable and he told me loves that second or third hit up and in Origin you need that.”

South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds appears to have won the race to partner Cronulla five-eighth James Maloney at the Blues scrumbase after steering the Rabbitohs to their second win in six days on Thursday night.

It will be the fourth series Daley has changed his halves combination but Reynolds and Maloney have been in better form of the other NSW-eligible playmakers, including Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce, Newcastle’s Trent Hodkinson and Canterbury’s Josh Reynolds.

Daley said he would not consider Pearce until after the Roosters match against the Bulldogs on Sunday but it is believed he would need a blinder to unseat Reynolds.

The forward pack is close to being settled with captain Paul Gallen to partner Aaron Woods in the front row and fellow props James Tamou and David Klemmer to play from the interchange bench.

Wests Tigers stalwart Robbie Farah will be hooker but it is unclear who will provide cover for him at dummyhalf, with Bulldogs backrower Josh Jackson the most likely option.

Greg Bird will return in the backrow after missing last year’s series due to suspension, along with Boyd Cordner and either Jackson or Beau Scott if Daley feels he needs the Parramatta veteran to act as a minder for Maloney or Reynolds.

Penrith’s Bryce Cartwright and Tyrone Peachey, Cronulla’s Jack Bird, St George Illawarra’s Tyson Frizell are under consideration for bench spots.

Likely NSW team: Matt Moylan; Josh Mansour, Michael Jennings, Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson; James Maloney, Adam Reynolds; Paul Gallen, Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods, Boyd Cordner, Josh Jackson/Beau Scott, Greg Bird. Interchange: James Tamou, David Klemmer, Bryce Cartwright/Tyson Frizell, Jack Bird/Tyrone Peachey.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.