Dogs No.1 Patten out of Cowboys clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs No.1 Patten out of Cowboys clash

By Wayne Heming 13/08/2009 07:13:07 PM Comments (0)

Prolific point-scoring winger Hazem El Masri could shift to fullback for Friday night's NRL clash with North Queensland after the Bulldogs arrived in Townsville to play minus attacking spark Luke Patten.

El Masri ran at fullback at various stages of the Dogs' training run in Townsville on Thursday afternoon but coach Kevin Moore was keeping his cards close to his chest about his plans to cover Patten's role.

Centre Daryl Millard travelled to north Queensland with the Bulldogs and could also be used at fullback.

Prop Ben Hannant (hamstring) was another absentee from the Bulldogs squad, which included 18th man Daniel Holdsworth.

Moore is unlikely to reveal his hand until just prior to kickoff but El Masri and Millard could share time at the back.

There was speculation Cowboys winger Michael Bani (back), who was not named by coach Neil Henry earlier in the week, could stake a late claim to play at the expense of Ty Williams.

Centre Ashley Graham (foot) and aggressive back-rower Luke O'Donnell have both been cleared to resume from injury after getting through another training session.

Graham's return to the right centre means State of Origin-experienced Willie Tonga will play opposite rangy Bulldog Jamal Idris, who has become quite a defensive handful in recent weeks.

Tonga faces an enormous task in nullifying Idris, one of the finds of the NRL this season, a task Henry was confident he was more than ready to handle.

"(Idris) is a strong carrier of the ball but if we've got Willie Tonga against him, he's got a ton of experience there and he will test him out defensively as well," said Henry.

"We've got no problems with Willie Tonga's defence so he'll be up to that task."

The Cowboys ensured their players were on a high for the important clash by announcing young Maroons prop Matt Scott had signed a new four-year deal, while makeshift hooker Anthony Watts, who has done a good job standing in for Aaron Payne, had agreed a one year extension of his current deal.

The Bulldogs also announced new signings - exciting Penrith winger Junior Tia Kilifi, St George Illawarra prop Micky Paea and Cronulla utility Blake Green.

The Dogs also agreed on a new contract with the competition's leading try scorer, Bryson Goodwin, until the end of 2011.

Tia Kilifi, 21, has signed a two-year deal after an impressive start to his first-grade career with the winning try on his debut against Parramatta in round 17.

Paea has also signed a two-year deal while Green has joined the Dogs for 2010.

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