Ahead of Friday's #NRL game between Penrith Panthers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, writer Rob C...
6 hours ago
Batten down the hatches - two of the hardest men in rugby league are set to go head-to-head.
One of Carl Webb's harshest critics - former Test prop Greg Dowling - says he wants to meet the North Queensland forward face-to-face.
But Dowling says he simply wants to congratulate the Cowboys enforcer on his Test selection.
Webb was a surprise inclusion for Australia's Centenary Test clash with New Zealand at the SCG on May 9.
Webb abused Dowling on the phone then hung up on him after the former Broncos prop slammed the North Queensland big man in his newspaper column early this season.
A week later a fired-up Webb began a form resurgence that was rewarded on Sunday with a maiden Test jersey.
Dowling said he would seek out Webb "in the coming weeks" to wish the feared Cowboy well.
"I haven't spoken to him since the phone call but I will make a point of seeing him - anyone who gets a Test jumper deserves to be congratulated," Dowling told AAP.
But Dowling doesn't expect the encounter to be pretty, judging by past experience.
Dowling said it should be similar to the reception he received from Dane Carlaw after claiming the then-Broncos backrower "looked like Tarzan, played like Jane".
"He (Webb) will have a dig at me because his pride was hurt, same as when I ran into Carlaw," he said.
"Dane was a bit apprehensive but I said to him `that's the way it goes but you've shown what you can do, put your head down and go for it'.
"I'll say the same thing to Charlie (Webb).
"If he (Webb) doesn't want to talk to me, I can live with that."
Dowling maintained that he was Webb's "biggest fan" and only fired a rocket up the Cowboys forward to get the best out of him.
But he wasn't taking credit for Webb's remarkable form turnaround.
"Of course not. He's done it himself, particularly in the last game (12-10 loss to premiers Melbourne) - that was the toughest I have seen the North Queensland defence," he said.
"I'm rapt for him, honestly. He's achieved a goal.
"Once he gets a taste for it he should grow an arm and a leg. That's what happens when you get your first Test jumper."
But Dowling did have one complaint about the Test team - the snubbing of Gold Coast backrower Anthony Laffranchi.
Despite helping the Titans to the top of the NRL table, the in-form Laffranchi missed out.
"How the hell did Laffranchi not get over the line," Dowling said.
Laffranchi's only consolation was making the NSW Country team to play City at Wollongong on Friday night.