Why the battle of the two forward packs will be crucial to their sides performance on Friday night.
Friday night looms as a blockbuster between two of leagues most successful clubs.
The round one fixture will see Des Hasler and Will Hopoate return to fortress Brookvale, the Sea-Eagles kick-off their campaign with a new look line-up and the Bulldogs will be minus Brett Morris, but what everyone wants to see is the battle up front between two very good forward packs.
The Sea-Eagles have recruited the likes of Marty Taupau, Nate Myles, Lewis Brown and Darcy Lussick to bolster their stocks, but after an intense pre-season that has seen the
Bulldogs forwards work harder than ever before, experienced front-rower Aiden Tolman believes this is where the result will be determined on Friday night.
“Most games are decided up front and they’ve got some new faces who’ll be ready for the battle,” Tolman said.
“It’s going to be a big game for both teams who are going to want to start the season well.”
Former Bulldog Taupau will be a key member of the Sea-Eagles forward pack in 2016 with his aggression and explosiveness that he brings to his game and one player from the
Bulldogs pack that knows Marty better than anyone else and is aware of what he can do, is Josh Jackson.
“He is a great player Marty,” Jackson said.
“Through the middle of the ruck he will be very good for them and I think he will bring energy.
“I think Manly will be looking for an up tempo game, but we have to slow down the ruck and see how we go.”
A lot has been made over the summer about how hard the Bulldogs forwards have worked to prepare for the season and after missing the tour for the Kiwis at the end of the 2015 season, lock forward Greg Eastwood feels the benefits of having a full pre-season will not only benefit him, but his fellow teammates as well.
“I chose not to go on the Kiwis tour so I could get a full pre-season under my belt,” said Eastwood.
“I have really appreciated coming back before Christmas and I feel a lot better.
“I have worked hard. I have dropped a bit of weight and I want to stay on the field for as long as I can and not let Tolman and Graham do all the work.”
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