Idris like Sonny Bill of old: Patten - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Idris like Sonny Bill of old: Patten

By Steve Jancetic 01/06/2009 05:57:18 PM Comments (0)

Bulldogs fullback Luke Patten has likened Jamal Idris's impact on the NRL to that of former teammate Sonny Bill Williams - a comparison that goes beyond the potent mix of power and speed.

"He's an x-factor, he's like a Sonny Bill almost," said Patten, who lined up alongside Williams when burst onto the scene back in 2004.

"You don't want to talk him up too much - he's down to earth and all that - but he can just pull plays out when you need it.

"You need x-factors in your team and he's certainly one for us."

Idris's powerful running style and uncanny ability to offload have drawn inevitable comparisons to Williams, who dramatically walked out on the club midway through last year to play rugby union in France.

Ironically, his departure opened the door for Idris to be given a chance late last year, then coach Steve Folkes blooding the talented 18-year-old for three matches as the Bulldogs plummeted towards the wooden spoon.

Viewed as one half of what was to be a dangerous centre combination with recruit Josh Morris, Idris's 2009 campaign struggled to get off the ground.

He found himself back in the NSW Cup after being dropped for his role in a fight between teammates Ben Barba and Lee Te Maari.

Then came accusations he was overweight before a personal tragedy with the death of a close family member last month.

Things started to come together with a brilliant performance against St George Illawarra back in round 10, Idris looking like a second coming of Williams as he threw off four Dragons in a breathtaking run to the line.

But that moment of brilliance was forgotten as controversy again followed the NSW north coast junior when he was denied what would have been the match-winning try thanks to a dud call from the video referee.

The man in the box came back to haunt Idris again on Sunday when he denied a seemingly fair try against Newcastle, though the teenager with the bunched dreadlocks refused to let the incident get him down.

"He's been through fair bit and the way he's handled that I think speaks of how he is," Patten said of Idris, who on Sunday played just his 11th match in the NRL.

"He's a really down to earth sort of bloke, really popular within the team."

The Bulldogs head into their second bye of the season this weekend still well-entrenched in the top eight despite two losses from their last three matches.

Coach Kevin Moore has given the squad five days off before they regather on Sunday to begin preparations for Friday week's encounter with second-placed Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

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