Fourth Bulldog Enters Halves Calculations
With everyone working busily to determine how three players fit into two halves spots at the Bulldogs, another candidate in prop Sam Kasiano put his hand up for a promotion following his man-of-the-match effort in the club's 22-point win over the Titans.
As usual five-eighth Josh Reynolds sits on the sideline injured, allowing for current halves Trent Hodkinson and Moses Mbye to build on their combinations, Kasiano took it upon himself to help the Bulldogs to victory, assisting two of the side's seven tries.
All jokes aside, Kasiano emerged as a serious X-factor for the Bulldogs as they look to continue their current roll into playing footy past the first week of September.
"Sam is an outstanding athlete and he's a very big man. Very agile," Hodkinson told
"He has the ball skills of a halfback so whether he had the No. 7 on his back or the 10 he wouldn't look out of place."
With the likes of Kasiano, captain James Graham and back-rowers Josh Jackson and Frank Pritchard all capable of ball-playing here and there, Hodkinson admitted his forwards definitely take the heat off him come the crucial moments of games.
"Though we need to go forward first and avoid going sideways, our forwards have a good opportunity there to take the pressure off Moses, Josh and I so it's handy having those boys out there who can play a bit of footy," Hodkinson said.
"It's good when the forwards run in pairs as well so it keeps the defence guessing because usually they'll compress up and maybe even shoot out of the line.
"So we have options there always to tip on or offload out the back. We can get away with a lot with our forwards rolling."
On the game, Hodkinson was happy the Bulldogs could refocus in the second half following a sloppy opening stanza.
Considering their big win over the ladder-leading Broncos last weekend, Hodkinson also stressed the importance of beating the cellar-dwelling Titans – who they have typically struggled against since their introduction to the competition in 2007.
"It was good to keep the roll on going, it's an important two points again because the top eight is so congested and you have teams who are still vying to make it to the finals so we just have to keep it rolling now," Hodkinson said.
"We spoke about it during the week that we were 0-4 in our last four games against the Gold Coast so they have been a bit of a bogey team but we knew we could get the win and were confident."
Casting forward to the Bulldogs' highly-anticipated Good Friday rematch with the Rabbitohs on Friday night, Hodkinson didn't shy away from the enormity of the contest.
In a controversial game back in April where Hodkinson lost seven of his teammates the next time the Bulldogs played through suspension or injury, the future Knight is hoping to make amends.
"It's a massive game. Obviously with what happened last time and how they scraped away with the win, we're looking forward to trying to make it even," he said.
"It's going to be a tough one. They're coming off a great win against the Cowboys and we know we'll have to be up for it so we'll have to do our homework."
This article first appeared on NRL.com