Hodkinson, Keating top Dogs, says Anasta - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hodkinson, Keating top Dogs, says Anasta

By Ben Horne 25/03/2011 06:41:41 PM Comments (0)

The Sydney Roosters might boast the NSW Origin halves in waiting, but captain Braith Anasta says Canterbury's Trent Hodkinson and Kris Keating are presently the NRL's most dynamic combination.

While the Roosters wouldn't trade their partnership of Mitchell Pearce and Todd Carney for anyone, Anasta conceded the Bulldogs pair has been the pacesetter in 2011.

Canterbury invested heavily in off-season recruits and childhood team-mates Hodkinson and Keating have fitted seamlessly into their roles at halfback and five-eighth.

Anasta admits that taking momentum away from the Canterbury playmakers in Sunday's clash at ANZ Stadium will be an almighty challenge.

"They're playing full of confidence, they're a great combination and they're probably in the best form out of anyone in the comp," said Anasta of the duo who played juniors together at Parramatta.

"They're keeping it simple and they're playing to their strengths and they're giving good service to their outside men like (Jamal) Idris.

"Two wins from two and two pretty good performances, you'd have to say they're in form.

"They have played together and that's the key to them as well ... they're starting to get a lot more experience now, they've had a couple of years (of first grade) under their belt."

Anthony Minichiello also praised Hodkinson and Keating for the strength of their kicking games and the way they've controlled play in the opening weeks.

However, the Roosters' No.1 backed Pearce and Carney to put them in a winning position.

"I'd have Pearcey and Carney before anyone," said Minichiello, before predicting Carney would be back to his best after a rusty first-out run last week recovering from a groin injury.

"In Carney's first game last week he blew some cobwebs out, so hopefully he can step up and have a good performance, which I think he will."

Meanwhile centre Kane Linnett and the Roosters' outside defenders know they have a task on their hands containing giant Bulldog Jamal Idris in Sunday's grudge match.

Idris showed great speed and strength to outplay opposite Greg Inglis last week, as the off-contract star continues his imposing start to the season.

And despite Ben Barba being new in his role at fullback, the Roosters don't see him as vulnerable.

The Roosters were decimated 60-14 in their corresponding clash in round three last year.

The electric 'x-factor' and the dreadlocked destroyer were two of the main protagonists in that game, with Barba scoring a hat-trick and Idris bagging a double.

Anasta said the Roosters have addressed their attitude problems from last week and will be on red-alert.

"He's (Idris) been thriving along with the attention and I suppose he's been playing for a few years now ... and with a few off-seasons under your belt you come in pretty confident," said Anasta.

"He's the form centre of the comp."

Minichiello added Barba's positional play had been spot on.

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