St George Illawarra players expect under-fire centre Josh Dugan to line up for the NRL club in Sunday's must-win clash with Canterbury.
Dugan was dropped after he missed the team bus last weekend, and while coach Paul McGregor was previously non-committal on his return, senior player Jason Nightingale said he expected him to be named on Tuesday.
"As far as selection goes based on discipline, I expect him to get picked this weekend," Nightingale said.
Nightingale also backed the 27-year-old Dugan to rebound in Sunday's clash, where they must beat a Bulldogs side they have won only one of their past 11 against to make the finals.
"The only way it could have been worse (for Dugan) is if we had lost the game," Nightingale said.
"He grew up being a Dragons fan and I think only a couple of weeks ago he was talking to me and Tyson (Frizell) about how much the club means to him.
"If (the season) was to end prematurely that would be devastating for him."
Earlier On Triple M
St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor warned players to be punctual just a day before Josh Dugan was dropped for missing the NRL team's bus.
It took just minutes for McGregor and captain Gareth Widdop to decide Dugan would be dropped for last Sunday's must-win clash for Penrith, when he failed to arrive at the appointed bus meeting time.
The NSW State of Origin star trained in the centres with the Dragons on Tuesday and is expected to be recalled for Sunday's must-win clash with Canterbury after he made an emotional apology to the group.
Veteran winger Jason Nightingale revealed the topic of tardiness was raised by McGregor as the team finalised preparations on Saturday.
"He made a point of it in a captain's run video," Nightingale said.
"Don't turn up late, look at the time table and all that kind of stuff.
"It was certainly something that was stressed in the lead up to the game - how important the game against Penrith was and how important it is to make sure we are on time as a club."
News Corp claimed Dugan had also missed the team's flight home after their match in Brisbane a week earlier.
Nightingale dodged questions on that point on Tuesday, but said the decision to drop Dugan was a line-in-the-sand moment after discipline had been addressed across the entire squad.
"We had some lean months there so you tend to look internally quite a lot," Nightingale said.
"You don't usually talk about turning up for the bus on time because it's almost a given. But we had had little slip ups here and there.
"Whether you're one minute late or two minutes late or an hour late it doesn't matter."
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