The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
5 days ago - 2 Likes
Both Darren Smith and Willie Mason make a return to the Bulldogs side for Friday night's game against the Roosters at Sydney Showground (7.30pm kick-off). Mason missed Sunday's game against the Dragons with an elbow injury and Smith hasn't played since State of Origin 3 also because of an elbow injury.
Mason replaces Rauhihi who will accept a one week suspension for a careless high tackle and Tony Grimaldi moves to first division to make way for Smith on the bench.
Aware that the Roosters will be out to reverse the disappointment of a poor performance against the Storm, the Bulldogs have put aside any talk of continuing their 14-match winning streak.
“This whole winning streak business isn't too much of an issue for us. Whether you've won 50 games or two games in a row it doesn't matter, you still take the field every week aiming to come away with the two points. We've got a lot of improvement to make on the way we played in the second half against the Dragons and that's what we're concentrating on at the moment,” said captain Steve Price.
“The Roosters have been impressive this season and I'm pretty sure they'll be doing everything they can to put last week behind them.”
Heading into what is shaping as the best game the Bulldogs have hosted this season Price is once again asking supporters to turn out in force.
“We're finally playing a top eight team at home so we'll need a good home crowd. Our supporters were enormous at WIN on Sunday and it'd be nice to see that at the Showground on Friday night.” The side is as follows:
1. Luke Patten 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Nigel Vagana 4. Willie Talau 5. Matthew Utai 6. Braith Anasta 7. Brent Sherwin 8. Willie Mason 9. Corey Hughes 10. Steve Price (c) 11. Glen Hughes 12. Steve Reardon 13. Travis Norton
14. Adam Perry 15. Darren Smith 16. Dennis Scott 17. Jamie Feeney