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Sonny to shine for Dogs: Patten
Bulldogs forward Sonny Bill Williams has been quiet all week, but fullback Luke Patten predicts the young superstar to make some noise in Friday's clash with the Sydney Roosters.
Williams has done his best to avoid all the media hype ahead of Friday's grudge match against former teammate Willie Mason and the Roosters at ANZ Stadium.
But Patten, one of the few Dogs brave enough to talk to the media about the highly-anticipated encounter, said Williams was preparing himself to perform when it matters.
He expected the Kiwi international back-rower to be heavily targeted by the Roosters, but tipped the 21-year-old to "rise to the challenge".
"I'd say he'll be ready for that and I know Sonny's sort of like Willie as well, I know when the big games come up he sort of rises to the challenge so I'm sure he'll do that," said Patten.
With Mark O'Meley and Willie Mason joining the Roosters this season, Williams has been given greater responsibility to provide the Bulldogs' go-forward.
Although he missed the round-two win over South Sydney with a calf strain, Patten believes Williams has stepped up for the Dogs this year, particularly with his match-turning 60-metre try against Wests Tigers last week.
"I think he has (stepped up). Definitely with the training and with the extras and getting here early and staying behind, I think he's sort of done that," said Patten.
"I think he's looking for a bit more of a leadership role and that's great and can only be good for us."
Skipper Andrew Ryan, meanwhile, believes his young props - Kane Cleal, Jarrad Hickey, Chris Armit and Danny Williams - will also up the ante against their former teammates.
Mason and O'Meley kept Armit, Hickey and Cleal to bench roles at the `Dogs, while Williams was punted from the Roosters to clear the decks for Big Willie to join during the off-season.
Ryan said his quartet would want to prove themselves against the Roosters' international duo.
"I think those guys have been fantastic for us that have come in," said Ryan.
"Those guys were probably considered as fringe first graders wanting to make a name for themselves in a starting side and at the moment they're doing all the right things to being in that starting team and putting pressure on guys every week.
"I'm sure they will want to go out and play well against them.
"They learnt a lot off the guys that have moved on as well and they will be excited about the challenge."