NRL 360 host Braith Anasta and Brent Read have clashed over the Bulldogs’ decision to call up Kyle Flanagan before their match against the defending Premiers.
Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett will exhaust his third half of the season on Sunday when Flanagan appears in the No. 7 jersey.
Jake Averillo, who played all of last season as a five-eighth or running back, started in the first two rounds before being eliminated in favor of Brandon Wakeham.
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After the 44-nil drubbing of the Storm Dogs and the back of Flanagan’s form in the NSW Cup, Barrett will roll the dice with the 23-year-old.
It will be his first NRL game since Round 24 last season.
Flanagan has had a rocky start to his NRL career. After just one season with the Roosters, he was shown the door. The Bulldogs pounced on him and signed him to a three-year deal.
He was benched midgame last season and faced the media days later, where he got emotional. Later that afternoon he was left out of Barrett’s 17 for that round.
Flanagan was called up later in the season before being fired again and later called up again.
Anasta believes the Bulldogs have given Flanagan “a hospital pass” by bringing him back to the first grade the week they face the Panthers.
However, Read thinks it’s an opportunity for Flanagan.
Phil Rothfield called it a “big bang” as he and Paul Kent looked on.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT BELOW.
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Read: “How long do you wait (until you play Flanagan)? When is the right time? Everyone has been saying that you deserve a chance. It started with Jake Averillo and it hasn’t worked, they haven’t scored any points. They played Brandon Wakeham and again did not score points. Everyone’s been saying ‘when are you going to give Kyle Flanagan a chance?’”
Paul Kent: “If that’s the case, why hasn’t he done any training with the team?”
Read: “He has trained with them this week. He has trained with them all preseason.”
Anasta: “He hasn’t done a session with them in preseason in the halves. That is the email we have. They also chose a center back to play in the midfield above him and didn’t give him the entire preseason to train with a five-eighth. He is a true No.7. And then you bring him in against a team that costs $1.10 to beat the (Bulldogs).”
Phil Rothfield: “They were beaten by 40 last week, you can’t wait two weeks while the pressure mounts at Canterbury.”
Anasta: “Are you going to stay with him?”
Read: “Well, that’s to be expected, but the record says no.”
Anasta: “I take it you spoke to Canterbury today, are they going to keep him?”
Read: “The Ball Is in his field. If he plays well, they will stay with him.”
Anasta: “Because they have thrown a hospital pass at him.”
Read: “How did they throw a hospital pass at him? He is a 23-year-old kid who pays half a million a year. This is what they pay you for.”
Anasta: “It doesn’t matter what you paid. How much is it going to be worth if it comes out and fails this weekend? How much does it cost?
Read: “Well, at the moment he has no future in the NRL anyway.”
Anasta: “Why doesn’t he have a future?”
Read: “Because he’s not running.”
Read: “At least he’s running now…if he gets up this week…”
Anasta: “Do you think he will?”
Read: “I don’t know. I don’t think they will win, but he just has to do his job and play well.”
Anasta: “So what happens after that?”
Read: “Hopefully (Barrett) stays with him.”
Anasta: “That’s funny.”
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Read: “What do you want? Do you want to be placed on reserve grade for the rest of the year?”
Anasta: “I’ve played in the halves of almost 300 games, I know what it is. You have to build trust and faith in your players. You have to embrace your halves, you have to take care of your halves. They have put a center in front, they have put Wakeham in front. He has not been tried in the trials alongside Burton. They have made him feel that way (small), the kid cried last year at press conferences and they throw him against the best team in the competition by far and they tell him ‘do the best you can’. I think it’s wrong. I hope I kill him but I’ve been there, I’ve lived it and I don’t like it, it’s that simple.