Cronulla veteran Josh Dugan has revealed he is in discussions to extend his contract at the Sharks beyond 2021, declaring he has “unfinished business” despite calls for him to retire due to injury.
Dugan, 30, was criticised over the summer for being disinterested as he was unable to train consecutive days due to inflammation in his knee.
Despite this setback, the former Test and Origin star has managed to play 13 games this season.
This has convinced Dugan that he still has plenty left in his ageing tank.
“I feel good – I’ve got one more year left on my contract and I’ve spoken to the club about maybe extending,” Dugan said.
“We are going through that process now, so we just have to wait and see.
“I feel like I’ve been playing really good footy and I’ve got next year as well.
“There is a little bit of unfinished business too. I feel like we have a pretty good squad here.”
As a veteran of 11 NRL seasons, Dugan is also ready to take on a greater leadership role at Cronulla.
The Sharks have a relatively young side following the departures of Paul Gallen, Matt Prior and Luke Lewis.
Dugan believes his knowledge of league’s ups and downs will be valuable for his younger teammates.
“I feel like I’m at a stage of my career now where I can be more of a teacher as well helping out the young guys,” he said.
“Over the next few years we’ve signed a lot of the younger guys, so I’m definitely keen to be a part of that.”
Cronulla face a tough run home with clashes against the Warriors, Roosters and Raiders.
The eighth-placed Sharks are four points ahead of the Warriors and Tigers, but they need to keep winning to secure their top eight position.
Dugan is confident Cronulla will make the finals if they discover their consistency.
“I think we have shown shades of it (our best) all year, but it has been a bit of a rollercoaster,” he said.
“We have some real good performances and then we dish up some crap like we did last week (against Newcastle).
“It was a bit embarrassing, and we didn’t turn up.”
Dugan respects the Warriors for their selflessness to keep the season going while their families are back in New Zealand, but he will put that admiration aside when they clash on Sunday.
“They (the Warriors) are still a mathematical chance, but we want to stop that on the weekend,” he said.
“We know if we get a win, we will be playing finals and they won’t.”