Bulldogs back halves for Origin
'Two New Zealanders and a Queenslander' sounds like the start of a terrible joke but that's exactly the trio who have backed their Bulldogs teammates and halves Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson to be picked again for New South Wales in the upcoming State of Origin series.
While they may not exactly care about who plays for NSW considering they won't take part in Origin this season (or in the Kiwis' case, ever), Bulldogs trio Sam Perrett, Greg Eastwood and Corey Thompson have all backed the incumbent halves to do a job again.
By sticking up for their embattled teammates, the Bulldogs quartet are dousing the fire begun by rugby league immortal Andrew Johns on Triple M on Monday night when he said he was "terrified" by the thought of the duo playing in Origin I on May 27, this despite Reynolds and Hodkinson being the men responsible for leading the Blues to their first Origin win in nine years.
Those words may come back to bite Johns, who is the halves coach for the Bulldogs' opponents this Friday night in the Sea Eagles, with the Knights legend recommending Dragons fullback Josh Dugan and Roosters captain Mitch Pearce fill the halves instead.
"I go out [and play] with [Reynolds and Hodkinson] every week and I have all faith in them. I know what they can do and I know myself what I can do too," Perrett said.
"Sometimes we all have off games every now and then and it's just a part of being human I suppose.
"I'd back them for Origin. They were able to get us to the grand final last year and broke New South Wales' Origin-winning drought which they had been facing for so long so I can only recommend them to play."
Johns went on to add that Hodkinson "looked like he was hiding from the ball" and Reynolds "lost his head" in the Bulldogs' 31-6 loss to the Dragons last Sunday and said he couldn't fathom to pick them based on their last-start performance.
However, Eastwood said it was now just a matter of his fellow teammates taking the criticism and turning it into motivation.
"It's what they do with that criticism and how they respond and I'm sure they'll be out to prove a point if they hear it," Eastwood said.
"I don't think Josh and Trent are ones to read too much into what's being said about them but sure they'll have to put in a few good performances. However, being criticised isn't always a bad thing – it's sometimes the kick up the backside you need.
"It isn't up to me decide but it would be disappointing to see them get dropped considering what they did for their state last year."
Thompson, a Queenslander, said his teammates belong at Origin level and deserve to be picked.
"They're amazing players," Thompson said. "They're good around the team so I can't see why they shouldn't play for New South Wales."