Stakes high in Idris-Cooper rematch - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stakes high in Idris-Cooper rematch

By David Beniuk 12/05/2011 06:09:41 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury giant Jamal Idris has the perfect opportunity to secure a NSW State of Origin jersey on Friday night by proving he's learned a lesson dished out by St George Illawarra veteran Matt Cooper.

A hobbling Idris was soundly beaten by his opposite number at the SCG five weeks ago as Cooper bagged two tries and the Dragons won 25-6.

It looked a case of master and apprentice, although Idris was nursing a bad cork and has since seen his star rise with an impressive Test debut against New Zealand.

Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore expects to see a more even battle against Cooper in Friday's ANZ Stadium blockbuster, which is expected to draw a crowd of up to 40,000.

"Jamal individually, and I think us as a team, need to show tomorrow night that we've learned from that," he said.

"He wasn't a hundred per cent that day, Jamal, so we'll see a different performance from him tomorrow night."

"The opportunity is there for our blokes to come up with good performances individually but ... their main concern is to turn up and get the job done for the Bulldogs."

Idris switched from his customary right centre position to the left to replace Greg Inglis against the Kiwis and scored a powerhouse try combining his trademark speed and size.

It now seems to be a case of Blues coach Ricky Stuart doing what it takes to find a place for him before he names his Origin I side on Sunday night.

The 20-year-old sat out training as a precaution on Monday nursing a wrist problem but has since completed every session.

Friday's match looks to be the perfect encore to last week's City-Country clash for Stuart, who will also take a keen interest in the battle between hookers Dean Young and Michael Ennis and in how young Dogs prop Aiden Tolman fronts up against Michael Weyman, Dan Hunt and Trent Merrin.

"I'm sure that there'll be some guys in calculations," Canterbury captain Andrew Ryan said.

"There's been some guys that have been in the team before and Jamal was in the Test team so I guess he'd be in those calculations.

"A fair few of our guys who have been in good form were in City-Country (game) as well so I'm sure they're right in the mix."

Canterbury's only three losses this season have come against the NRL's top three sides - the Dragons, Melbourne and Brisbane - and they are desperate for the mental lift a win over one of the contenders will give them.

"It's certainly something that we've talked about," said centre Josh Morris, who is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing Origin audition in Albury.

"They've won seven in a row now and are really steaming ahead so, if we can go out there and put a good 80 minute performance in and see where we're at, hopefully we can get the win and gain a lot more confidence."

St George Illawarra, who have won the past five encounters between the neighbouring clubs, this week named Kyle Stanley as Mark Gasnier's (ankle) replacement, while fullback Darius Boyd will return from a hamstring injury.

The Dragons will wear their Illawarra Steelers style away jerseys to celebrate 100 years of league in the region.

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