The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Mitsubishi Electric Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes has named Charlie Tonga to make his first grade debut this Saturday evening against the Eels at Telstra Stadium. Tonga will become the 24th player used by Folkes in first grade this season in just 7 games.
Tonga is a big, strong athletic forward having played in the front row for the Dogs Premier League side. Tonga was recruited earlier this year from Easts (Brisbane) on the recommendation of former Bulldog, Darren Smith. Just two seasons ago he played on the wing, and it is expected his size and mobility will help to cover the loss of Mark O'Meley.
Ben Harris will also make a return to first grade after off-season surgery to his shoulder delayed his return. Harris has spent the past couple of weeks in Premier League regaining match fitness.
ROUND 8: Saturday 30 April, 2005 vs Eels Telstra Stadium Kick-Off: 7.30pm Referee: Russell Smith TV: Fox Sports (Delayed @ approx 9.15pm aest)
BULLDOGS TEAM: 1. Luke Patten 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Jamaal Lolesi 4. Willie Tonga 5. Matt Utai 6. Braith Anasta 7. Brent Sherwin 8. Nate Myles 9. Corey Hughes 10. Roy Asotasi 11. Reni Maitua 12. Andrew Ryan 13. Tony Grimaldi
Interchange: 14. Ben Harris 15. Chris Armit 16. Charlie Tonga 17. Brad Morrin