Bulldogs wingers united by one goal
Besides making their respective NRL debuts in 2014 and being united by the same goal of sinking the Sea Eagles on Friday night, Bulldogs wingers Corey Thompson and Curtis Rona have very little in common.
While they might enjoy the same TV shows or music, in football terms Rona and Thompson are unlikely wing partners.
Rona – a journeyman at just 22 – was born in New Zealand, grew up in Western Australia and has since played football in both New South Wales and Queensland. He has a solid 16 centremetres and 10 kilograms on the stocky Thompson, who is reminiscent of a young Matt Utai.
With Brett Morris's hamstring injury ruling him out long-term, Rona and the off-contract Thompson are looking to settle in quick smart in a bid to impress coach Des Hasler against Manly on Friday night.
"It's a massive opportunity for me to get back into first grade and a have a go," Thompson said.
"I'm not really worried about my future just yet. I want to play the best possible football I can each week and show Des that I'm capable of playing each week.
"It is really a chance for me to show I love it here too and want to stay."
With the nuggetty winger lamenting he'll probably come up against the biggest winger Manly posses in either Brayden Williame or Cheyse Blair, Thompson said the Sea Eagles' recent poor form is a bad thing for his Bulldogs.
"I usually come up against the big wingers like Manu Vatuvei or last weekend I came up against big Eto Nabuli. It doesn't bother me who I mark though, I just play to my strengths and how I usually would," Thompson said.
"It's a bad thing for us they haven't been playing well, too. They'll be ready to blow us off the park.
"We have to be prepared for that because we haven't been playing too well and they're a quality side and they'll be giving it to us with everything they've got which we have to be prepared for."
Rona agreed with his partner-in-crime and is expecting a hugely difficult game.
"I think every time the Bulldogs play Manly it's always a tough game and everyone is getting ready to lift to the next level so they'll be prepared well and hopefully we will be too," Rona said.
"We have a few soldiers down currently so hopefully we receive some good news soon about some of the boys coming back.
"In the meantime we need to get our bodies right, we've had a short five-day turnaround so it's a matter of recovery for us and getting ready for the Manly blockbuster."