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Averillo our long-term fullback: Jackson

3 minute read

Canterbury captain Josh Jackson has thrown his support behind Jake Averillo as the club's long-term fullback, casting further doubt over Matt Dufty's future.

JOSH JACKSON. Picture: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Canterbury captain Josh Jackson has thrown his support behind Jake Averillo as the club's long-term custodian of the No.1 jersey but stopped short of saying Matt Dufty will leave the club at the season's end.

Since interim coach Mick Potter dropped Dufty in favour of Averillo earlier this month, the Bulldogs have won two of three NRL games and challenged an understrength Penrith side in a narrow loss.

A jack of all trades under previous coach Trent Barrett, Averillo scored two tries in each win and looked comfortable at fullback.

"He's really embraced the spot. I think it really suits his game," Jackson said.

"Everyone knows his attributes: he's fast, he's strong and he can break tackles. You can just tell he's really enjoying his footy.

"He's looked fantastic and I think it looks like there might be a really long-term opportunity for him as the number one for this club."

But despite effusively endorsing Averillo, Jackson said the off-contract Dufty could be welcomed back into the starting side at some point in the season.

"It's up to 'Duff' and his performances," Jackson said.

"He's had a fantastic attitude, has been training really well and he's put in some really good performances the last couple of weeks in reserve grade.

"He hasn't whinged about (being dropped), he hasn't moped around.

"He could step back in whenever he needed to."

From next year, Bulldogs hooker Jeremy Marshall-King will link up with the Dolphins, who are yet to sign an out-and-out fullback for their inaugural season.

But Marshall-King said he hadn't tried to talk his teammate into making the move north with him.

"I haven't really spoken about it with him that much," he said.

"I think 'Duff' is just trying to keep playing good footy at the moment."

Potter has yet to confirm his interest in taking the Bulldogs' coaching job full-time from next year but would have the support of the playing group if he chose to continue.

"He's really calm, which is great for us. I'm really happy that he's got the results he has here," Jackson said.

Potter hasn't faced questions from his captain about his coaching aspirations.

"I don't talk to him about it at all," Jackson said.

"It's out of my hands, that's his decision."

On Saturday, Cameron Ciraldo withdrew himself from the race to coach Wests Tigers but Jackson wouldn't comment on whether the highly-rated Panthers assistant could be a good fit for the Bulldogs if Potter chose not to continue next year.

"That's way above my pay grade," he added.

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