Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett will run out his third halves pairing of the season on Sunday when Flanagan features in the No.7 jersey.
Jake Averillo — who played all of last season either at five-eighth or halfback — started in the first two rounds before he was axed in favour of Brandon Wakeham.
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Following the Dogs’ 44-nil thrashing from the Storm and off the back of Flanagan’s form in New South Wales 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 at the Roosters he was shown the door. The Bulldogs pounced and signed him on a three-year deal.
He was benched midgame last season and fronted the media days later where he became emotional. Later that afternoon he was left out of Barrett’s 17 for that round.
Flanagan was recalled later in the season before being axed again and then recalled again.
Anasta believes the Bulldogs have thrown Flanagan “a hospital pass” by bringing him back in first grade the week they take on the Panthers.
However Read believes it’s an opportunity for Flanagan.
Phil Rothfield called it a “major flare-up” as he and Paul Kent watched on.
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Read: “How long do you wait (until playing Flanagan)? When’s the right time? Everyone’s been saying he deserves an opportunity. He started with Jake Averillo and it hasn’t worked, they haven’t scored points. They played Brandon Wakeham and again they’ve scored no points. Everyone’s been saying ‘when are you going to give Kyle Flanagan a go?’”
Paul Kent: “If that’s the case then why hasn’t he done any training with the team?”
Read: “He’s trained with them this week. He’s trained with them the whole pre-season.”
Anasta: “He hasn’t done one session with them in pre-season in the halves. That’s the mail we’ve got. They also picked a centre to play in the halves over him and didn’t give him the whole pre-season to train with a five-eighth. He is a genuine No.7. And then you bring him in against a team that’s $1.10 to beat the (Bulldogs).”
Phil Rothfield: “They got beat by 40 last week, you can’t wait for two weeks as pressure builds at Canterbury.”
Anasta: “Are they going to stick with him?”
Read: “Well you’d hope so but the track record says no.”
Anasta: “I’m assuming you spoke to Canterbury today, are they going to stick with him?”
Read: “The ball is in his court. If he plays well they’ll stick with him.”
Anasta: “Because they’ve thrown him a hospital pass.”
Read: “How have they thrown him a hospital pass? He’s a 23-year-old kid paid half a million a year. This is what he’s paid to do.”
Anasta: “It doesn’t matter what he’s paid. What’s he going to be worth if he goes out there and fails this weekend what’s he worth?”
Read: “Well at the moment he’s got no future in the NRL anyway.”
Anasta: “Why’s he got no future?”
Read: “Because he’s not getting a run.”
Read: “At least now he’s getting a run… if he stands up this week…”
Anasta: “Do you think he will?”
Read: “I don’t know. I don’t think they’ll win but he just has to do his job and play well.”
Anasta: “So what happens after that?”
Read: “Hopefully (Barret) sticks with him.”
Anasta: “That is hilarious.”
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Read: “What do you want? Do you want them to sit him in reserve grade for the rest of the year?”
Anasta: “I’ve played in the halves for nearly 300 games, I know what it’s like. You’ve got to build confidence and belief in your players. You’ve got to cuddle your halves, you’ve got to look after your halves. They’ve put a centre in front of him, they’ve put Wakeham in front of him. They haven’t trialled him in the trials next to Burton. They’ve made him feel like this (small), they kid was crying last year in press conferences and they throw him in against the best team of the competition by a long way and say ‘do your best.’ I think it’s wrong. I hope he kills it but I’ve been there, I’ve lived it and I don’t like it, simple as that.”