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Moore buoyed by Bulldogs' NRL start

By Ian McCullough 22/04/2009 05:06:47 PM Comments (0)

Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore has admitted he did not expect his side to make such a superb start to the NRL season but says he is not surprised by their progress.

After enduring a dismal 2008, that ended with the wooden spoon following Sonny Bill Williams' mid-season walk-out, 2009 has been a stark contrast with five wins from the opening six games.

The decision by the club to promote Moore from assistant to former mentor Steve Folkes to the top job looks to be a shrewd one.

This, and the recruitment of experienced heads such as Brett Kimmorley, Michael Ennis and Ben Hannant in addition to the fine form of youngsters Jamal Idris, Daryl Millard and Ben Roberts have gone some way to banishing the memories of the club's annus horribilis.

"I was really happy with our off-season and the calibre of the players we brought in," said Moore.

"However, I am not sure I would have said we would win five of our first six, but I am not that surprised we have done so well."

Idris has been recalled for Sunday's trip to Canberra after being left out the side for the last four games due to suspension for an alcohol-related incident and the good form of Millard.

Moore also played down reports that claimed 18-year-old Idris had demanded to leave the club after his non-selection.

"Jamal is excited about playing again and looking forward to the opportunity .. he knows that Daryl Millard played pretty good footy and he appreciates the club had to reward Daryl by keeping him in the side," said Moore.

"He was disappointed at being dropped through suspension and people know if you get an opportunity in first grade and lose it, you run the risk of someone coming good in your place.

"We have spoken to Jamal regularly and it is all done and dusted and we move on.

"If he plays as good as he can then he will be there for a long time to come."

Idris' return came after Josh Morris was sidelined due to a toe ligament injury.

Morris, who scored twice in Sunday's victory over Parramatta, was this week named in the provisional NSW State of Origin squad.

Moore is in no doubt he will be back in action before the end of the season.

"Josh goes in for surgery tomorrow to repair a torn ligament off his toe but that will be reattached and the expectation is that he will be back within eight weeks," he said.

"It is a blow to lose him, but Jamal now gets his chance."

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