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Missing forward Willie Mason (foot), utility Reni Maitua (ankle) and centre Ben Harris (shoulder), the Mitsubishi Electric Bulldogs will field a near full-strength team for their NRL opening round clash with the Dragons this Friday night at Telstra Stadium.
Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes has included Test forward Andrew Ryan (knee), winger Matt Utai (ankle) and halfback Brent Sherwin (hip) who will all make their first appearances for 2005 having missed all pre-season action.
Folkes has included rookie Nate Myles on his interchange after some very impressive performances in the Dogs' two pre-season games and their World Club Challenge loss to Leeds. Myles is a robust forward who will share the heavy workload upfront with Bulldogs debutantes, Chris Armit, and Ben Czislowski.
The Bulldogs team will include 13 player's from the victorious 2004 Telstra Grand Final team.
MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC BULLDOGS
Friday 11 March, 2005 vs St George Illawarra Dragons Telstra Stadium Kick-Off: 7.30pm Referee: Paul Simpkins TV: Delayed on Nine Network (8.30pm aest)
1. Luke Patten 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Jamaal Lolesi 4. Willie Tonga 5. Matt Utai 6. Braith Anasta 7. Brent Sherwin 8. Mark O'Meley 9. Adam Perry 10. Roy Asotasi 11. Sonny Bill Williams 12. Andrew Ryan 13. Tony Grimaldi
Interchange 14. Corey Hughes 15. Chris Armit 16. Ben Czislowski 17. Nate Myles
Coach: Steve Folkes