- Oct 1, 2013
- Reaction score
So Thompson is available for round 4 if he can’t play this trial?
Like itTrent Barrett’s new era at Bulldogs to begin with new faces in key positions
Canterbury’s new era under Trent Barrett will begin with a major overhaul of the team’s spine and a centre aiming to prove his worth in a trial against Cronulla.
The first glimpse of Canterbury’s new era under Trent Barrett will begin with an untried halves pairing, a new fullback and a centre aiming to prove his worth.
In a far from ideal build-up ahead of the season proper for Barrett’s Bulldogs, the new coach has been impacted by injuries before the club’s first and only NRL-standard trial match against Cronulla at Kogarah on Saturday night.
Unavailable for the hitout against the Sharks are Jeremy Marshall-King, who had been training all summer at hooker and Jake Averillo, the club’s first-choice five-eighth.
Kyle Flanagan will play his first game for the Bulldogs against Cronulla on Saturday night. Picture: Bulldogs Media
Marshall-King has suffered a minor foot injury and is aiming to be fit for round one, while Averillo won’t trial and is in doubt for the start of the season due to an elbow injury.
Dylan Napa (knee), Raymond Faitala-Mariner (ankle), Luke Thompson (suspended) and Jayden Okunbor (knee) will also be unavailable.
The key omission of Averillo from the trial has forced Barrett to name playmaker Kyle Flanagan at halfback in his first game for the club alongside back-up half Brandon Wakeham.
The loss of Averillo is a blow for Barrett who wants to bed down a consistent halves partner for Flanagan in order to give the talented halfback the best platform to lead the Dogs.
“Wakey (Wakeham) will get an opportunity and we’ve got some talented younger players pushing to play behind him also,’’ Barrett said.
Targeted as a high-profile recruit on a three-year deal, Nick Cotric moved to the Bulldogs from Canberra for the opportunity to shift from the wing, where he featured for the Blues, to the centres.
Brandon Wakeham will partner Kyle Flanagan in the halves against the Sharks. Picture: Brett Costello
And Barrett will give the powerful ball-carrier that chance by selecting him at left centre, with the experienced Will Hopoate set to lockdown the right-centre spot.
Hopoate’s move to the centres paves the way for South Sydney recruit Corey Allan to play his first game in Bulldogs colours at fullback.
Former Penrith hooker Sione Katoa will start the match at dummy-half.
The Sharks are expected to field an almost full strength line-up with only forwards Aiden Tolman and Toby Rudolf likely to miss the match due to minor hamstring injuries.
It says suspension is the reason but I thought trials didn't count towards reducing suspension. There was a mention of a hamstring issue he had a few weeks back. Maybe that's the reason?Wait, so does this count towards Thompson's suspension? Unless he's carrying an injury?
Katoa is a woeful defender though. Hopefully he’s improved.I reckon Katoa could be a smokey if he is as fit as people are saying. There’s not much between Katoa and JMK but I think Katoa is more of an attacking threat.
JMK had a underserved mortgage on hooker over the last few years so a big game from someone on Saturday could give them the start in round 1.