Tolman happy to do Bulldogs' hard yards
They look hard and they work hard. That's just about the best way to describe Bulldogs front-rowers Aiden Tolman and James Graham who once again produced tireless efforts against the Sea Eagles on Friday night.
The front-row pairing produced a typically impressive stat line against Manly in their hard-fought 16-12 victory in difficult conditions at Brookvale Oval.
On 17 runs, Tolman made 134 metres and 37 tackles while Graham made 32 tackles and 144 metres off 20 hit-ups.
Those workman-like performances follow on from last week's outstanding performance against the Eels where the bruise brothers amassed 23 runs each, with Tolman churning up 166 metres and Graham 158.
"That's our role in the team," Tolman told NRL.com.
"I know that's my job, that's what front rowers do, we've got to get those metres coming off our own line, we've got to set up the plays."
Asked what impact that effort in the middle has on the rest of the Bulldogs team, the 26-year-old deflected any credit.
"I can only comment on what I think of James and he's a tremendous leader he's been playing the same footy for us for four years now," Tolman said.
"We play a different style to most teams but we play off the structures that Des gives us and that's what we need to do.
"That's what we're here for, we're both team players and we put the team first and that's what we've got to do."
Indeed, the role of Tolman and Graham is unique for a starting front row combination, but so too is the rest of their forward pack.
With one of the most physically imposing benches ever assembled in the NRL, featuring man-mountains Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard and David Klemmer, Tolman and Graham are called upon to be the workhorses in the middle.
"I think we always have been," Tolman said.
"That's just our style of game we do have a big powerful bench and a lot of powerful running back-rowers.
"So that's just the role Des gives us and that's just what we need to continue to do for the team."
In terms of the match, which saw 26 total errors, Tolman said he thought it was an entertaining encounter.
"I thought it was a really high quality match even thought there was some dropped ball and some penalties," Tolman, who played his junior football at the Smithtown Tigers, said.
"It was end to end stuff and it was pretty thrilling for the fans there at the end, it was a good game of footy.
"It's always a tough affair when you come to Manly, they're a quality team you know you're in for a fight when you come here.
"We were lucky enough to get the two points in the end."
In terms of the contentious refereeing call, which saw Tolman's extraordinary effort to chase down and seemingly hold up Steve Matai from behind go unrewarded, Tolman was relatively unfazed.
"I've got nothing really to say, I personally thought I held him up but in the end they thought it was a try," he said.