NRL collision about to begin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL collision about to begin

10/03/2005 08:34:53 PM Comments (0)

It's been a pre-season dominated by speculation over the future of three of their highest profile players.

But for 80 minutes tonight the conjecture will take a backseat to collision as the Bulldogs open their NRL premiership defence against St George Illawarra at Telstra Stadium.

"All the guys are excited about playing," said coach Steve Folkes after meeting with Willie Mason, one of the trio of Bulldogs stars along with Braith Anasta and Sonny Bill Williams off contract at the end of 2005.

"Premiership hangover? Sometimes there's a bit of a tour hangover too. Our guys were given as much time off as they could have.

"To their credit they have been enthusiastic."

It's been the same at Kogarah - or Wollongong - depending on which side of the Dragons joint venture you come from.

St George Illawarra's off-season has been spiked by injury and murmuring of discontent among their playing ranks.

Coach Nathan Brown takes a backline minus stars Trent Barrett and Mark Gasnier into tonight's game - in their place Aaron Gorrell at five-eighth and youngster Ben Creagh in the centres.

"He knows what he can do," Brown said of Gorrell.

"He's not there to replace Trent Barrett. Obviously he's replacing Trent in body but he's not going to play as Trent Barrett."

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