|Match Date||10th Mar, 2001|
|Venue||Sydney Showground Homebush|
NSW State of Origin selector Geoff Gerard said yesterday he hoped young Bulldogs five-eighth Braith Anasta would not be the subject of unrealistic expectations after the teenager's impressive hand in the 38-18 win over Northern Eagles on Saturday night.
Anasta's first-half performance. in which he set up two tries and scored one himself to effectively end the Eagles' night at half-time, had observers predicting big things.
In just his fourth first grade game — and only his second in the run-on team — the level-headed Anasta showed the form which has seen him tagged, some say unduly, as the next Brad Fittler.
Gerard was impressed with Anasta against the Eagles but said that to assume he would be in consideration for NSW selection was off the mark.
He had a great game." he said. He did very well to be in the right place at the right time on occasion and defended very well. But the young lad has only had a couple of first-grade games."
Gerard said the step up from first division was a big enough challenge.
He still has to prove himself in first grade week in, week out — and while he played very well, there is still a lot of ground to be made up on other blokes for Origin," he said.
Perhaps mindful of Eric Grothe junior's situation last season, when the former Eel was said to have been called upon at too young an age to represent his state. Gerard said he thought it was unfair to pitch someone too inexperienced into the fray.
"If he continues to play well. I'm sure his name will be mentioned. But if we start to put too much pressure on him after he plays a fantastic game, it is a bit unfair."
Anasta played only 51 minutes of Saturday's victory which leaves the Bulldogs undefeated on top of the ladder after straining ankle ligaments. but the injury is not serious.
Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes faces a tough selection decision tomorrow should Anasta be declared fit for next weekend's game against Penrith.
Five-eighth Brent Sherwin (groin) is returning from injury and Anasta's other position — lock — Is being capably held down by Travis Norton.
Anasta, the nephew of South Sydney president George Piggins, twice intercepted long passes to race away down the right side in the first half. He calmly grubber-kicked through for Hazem El Masri to score on the first occasion and linked with another of the Bulldogs' best. Nigel Vagana for a second try.
Vagana scooted away from injured Eagles centre Andrew King down the right touchline to send El Masri in again soon after and just on half-time Anasta touched down.
The Eagles mounted a challenge in the second half but failed to maintain the game plan and kept erring.
They completed just 50 per cent of their sets of six.
We made a thousand mistakes and you just can't make those mistakes against a side of the quality of the Bulldogs this year — they ground us into the dirt." Sharp said.
Folkes had predicted Kimmorley's influence on the Eagles would change them into a flat, attacking, Melbourne-like team. Hence, able to be picked off with intercepts.
You can push up on them a little bit, and (Anasta) seems to anticipate things really well." he said.
Source: The Australian
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||3||3||0||18|
|Braith Anasta||Five Eighth||1||0||0||4|
|Craig Polla-Mounter||Half Back||1||0||0||4|
|Darren Smith||Second Row||1||0||0||4|
|Jamie Feeney||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Price||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|