Anasta may start on bench: Lang - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Anasta may start on bench: Lang

By Brent Read and Billy Freeman 24/09/2004 05:43:57 AM Comments (0)

Penrith is bracing for Reni Maitua to start Saturday night's NRL preliminary final even if Bulldogs playmaker Braith Anasta passes a fitness test on his cracked sternum.

Anasta, who missed the Bulldogs semi-final win over Melbourne, was hedging his bets on whether he would be cleared to return at Aussie Stadium in the grand final qualifier.

Even if he is given the thumbs-up, Penrith coach John Lang admitted he wouldn't be surprised if Maitua retained the starting spot and Anasta was left cooling his heels on the interchange bench at kick-off.

"I think it's probably a 50-50 chance, to be perfectly honest," Lang said.

"It doesn't really change our game plan, you've got an awareness that there are different types of players but whether it worries us or not.

"It makes no difference. We'll have to play whoever they put out there."

Maitua has proved an able deputy for Anasta this season, culminating in his performance against the Storm last weekend.

Classy pivot Johnathan Thurston, who shared the workload with Maitua, was also outstanding off the bench.

Anasta's return, therefore, could leave Folkes with a headache.

The Bulldogs have started with Anasta on the bench one previous time this season - in round 15 against Canberra.

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