Lafai-Thompson combo paying off for Bulldogs
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks" or so the saying goes, but Bulldogs centre-wing pairing Tim Lafai and Corey Thompson are doing their best to disprove it.
Lafai, the prominent 23-year-old who has already racked up 41 games for the Bulldogs since his debut in 2011, has been helping his older teammate – rookie winger Thompson – establish himself in the top grade with positive consequences.
While only a year separates the two, Thompson has been glad for Lafai's influence inside him on the paddock, allowing for the 24-year-old to show his worth in the NRL.
"I'm loving first-grade at the moment. I'm taking it week by week though because I'm trying to prove to Dessie [coach Hasler] that I am more than capable of playing there," Thompson told NRL.com.
"Timmy has been real good to play outside of. He is very elusive and I get plenty of ball off him so I can get a bit of space... [yet] I still think I have a bit more to show so I'm trying to demonstrate to the coaching staff that I deserve to be there."
With both men having played 12 games this season, the Bulldogs duo have combined in nine of these fixtures, accumulating nine tries, nine line breaks, six line break assists, 54 tackle breaks and over 1500 metres between them.
With the Bulldogs now heading towards an important block of games before most likely entering finals football in September, Lafai is happy to have his older winger there by his side.
"Corey has been pretty good. He has earned his spot and deserves to be there. It has been awesome having him next to me," Lafai told NRL.com.
"He's a great player, awesome talent and I wouldn't mind playing the rest of the season with him... [but] there are still a few games to come and a few things [that everyone] needs to work on before we start focusing in on the finals."
Having overcome a hand injury suffered early in the season, Lafai is now completely focused on playing the Melbourne Storm this Saturday night, a team they smashed 40-12 in Round 4.
"I'm sure they will have done their homework and it's been a few weeks now since we played them so they will come back firing," Lafai said.
"It'll be a good battle especially in Melbourne. Whether [their Origin trio] plays or not doesn't matter, they'll have the players doing a good job for them on the field."