Aaron Woods of the Tigers (centre) powers his way through the Rabbitohs defence.
Aaron Woods of the Tigers (centre) powers his way through the Rabbitohs defence. DAVID MOIR

Shock comebacks offer Blues a double boost

LAURIE Daley's Blues may yet be delivered a double boost with Aaron Woods and Josh Dugan both on track to return to the paddock in coming weeks.

Woods had been all but ruled out of the May 31 series opener with a hamstring tear that was expected to rule him out for at least a month, at worse case two.

But the Wests Tigers skipper says his recovery is well ahead of schedule and his is hoping to return as early as next Friday's clash with Brisbane, which would give him much-needed game time before Daley's squad is picked a few days later.

"It's going well," Woods said of his recovery on Triple M's Grill Team on Friday morning.

"I started running this week so I'm a bit ahead of schedule so the signs at the moment are pretty good.

"I'm really looking forward to trying to get a game next week maybe if I'm a chance.

"Yeah it's a lot quicker (than expected). The physios at the club have been smashing me up every day."

While both Woods and Dugan have been regular NSW fixtures in recent years, Daley is reluctant to throw either player straight into the interstate fray without an NRL game beforehand.

The fractured cheekbone Dugan sustained in last week's Anzac Test had the potential to rule him out for up to six weeks, but he is expected to return in the next fortnight.


Josh Dugan of the Kangaroos walks off the pitch after injury during the Trans-Tasman Test match between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis at GIO Stadium in Canberra, Friday, May 5, 2017. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Josh Dugan of the Kangaroos walks off after being injured during the Anzac Test. LUKAS COCH

The Dragons will be without Dugan for their round 10 local derby with Cronulla, and possibly next week's home game against the Warriors in Waikato, but the updated prognosis keeps him in the Origin frame.

Dugan had minor surgery during the week, with club coach Paul McGregor confirming he is on track to be available for game one at Suncorp Stadium, if Daley is willing to take a punt on his fitness.

"Josh has got the best-case scenario of two weeks rather than six, which is pleasing for the club, but we'll miss him this weekend," McGregor said on Thursday.

"The operation went well. He's a little bit sore but that's normal. There's a bit of swelling around his melon but he's okay.

"If he's fit, he'll play Origin, I would think."