We need to help Utai: Patten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

We need to help Utai: Patten

By Brent Read 17/09/2004 07:49:56 PM Comments (0)

Bulldogs fullback Luke Patten believes powerful winger Matt Utai will stand up to a Melbourne aerial attack this weekend - provided he receives a little help from his friends.

Utai's frailties under the high ball were exposed by North Queensland last weekend his opposite number Matt Sing outleapt him to score three tries.

That hasn't gone unnoticed by the Storm, who boast one of the best tactical kickers in the game in Matt Orford and one of the tallest wingers in Matt King, who towers over the diminutive Utai.

That's where Patten and co fit into the equation.

Asked what the Bulldogs had to improve this week, Patten said: "Probably our ruck defence and slowing the play the ball down a bit...and just protecting our wingers on the corner kicks.

"I think it's a good ploy if you can get a few numbers out there and isolate the wingers.

"We just didn't get enough numbers out there to help Matty."

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy and his players spent most of the week playing down the Utai factor but there seems little doubt Orford will target the New Zealand international on Sunday at Aussie Stadium.

"Obviously everyone is going to talk about that as somewhere we will go to," said King, who stands more than 20cm taller than his opponent.

"I'm not worrying about that too much.

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