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Mitsubishi Electric Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes has named his team to meet the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Friday 25 February at Members Equity Stadium in Perth.
In what will be the Bulldogs final hit-out before their NRL opening round clash with the Dragons, Folkes has named a near full strength line-up which will only exclude player?s unavailable due to injury.
Youngster Trent Cutler gets a further chance to impress when he lines up on the wing in place of the injured Matt Utai. Utai is expected to be available for the Dragons on March 11.
New recruit Ben Czislowski gets a start in the front-row
Mark O'Meley has been named on a six-man interchange with former Parramatta forward Chris Armit and Bulldog juniors Brett Oliver, Adam Brideson, Nate Myles and Trevor Thurling.
O?Meley has been sidelined since he underwent off-season knee and elbow surgery. O?Meley?s fellow Kangaroo team mates, Andrew Ryan and Willie Mason are both unavailable due to injury.
Ryan is expected to be available for the season opener along with halfback, Brent Sherwin. Mason is not expected back on the field for at least a further 3 months, whilst Ben Harris should be available for selection around round 4.
The interest in the game from the Western Australian public has been enormous. Over 7,500 tickets have been pre-sold up until Wednesday afternoon with a large walk-up crowd expected at the 18,000 seat Members Equity Stadium.
MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC BULLDOGS TEAM
1. Luke Patten 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Jamaal Lolesi 4. Willie Tonga 5. Trent Cutler 6. Braith Anasta 7. Corey Hughes 8. Roy Asotasi 9. Adam Perry 10. Ben Czislowski 11. Sonny Bill Williams 12. Reni Maitua 13. Tony Grimaldi
14. Mark O'Meley 15. Chris Armit 16. Brett Oliver 17. Adam Brideson 18. Nate Myles 19. Trevor Thurling