Monday 18 December 2017 / 02:45 AM

TWINNING STREAK PUTS BULLDOGS IN TITLE FRAME

Canterbury overcame a vastly improved Sydney Roosters outfit 24-20 on Thursday night, clawing back from an early 12-0 deficit – and the Morris twins, Brett and Josh, played a vital role.

Brett, after scoring a hat-trick against Brisbane in his first appearance of the season following a long injury layoff, bagged another two tries and made a long break in the lead-up to another.

He finished with three line-breaks and 141 running metres in another consummate winger’s display.

Josh, meanwhile, threw the last pass for both of his brother’s tries in his return from an injury that ruled him out of Origin II.

The twins have combined regularly for NSW and Australia as a centre/wing combination, but rarely at club level.

They seldom played together in first grade at St George Illawarra before Josh moved to the Bulldogs in 2009, while Brett played exclusively at fullback after reuniting with Josh in blue and white last year – a season that saw the former miss 10 games through injury.

But keeping Brett on the flank – a decision made easier by recruit Will Hopoate’s stellar form in the No.1, although his unavailability for Sunday games could present a problem at the end of the year – could be the extra ingredient required to spark a Bulldogs premiership charge.

Brett was a major success at fullback in 2015, but he arguably remains the premier all-round winger in the NRL. His record of 126 tries in 187 games is testament to his finishing ability, but his positional sense and defensive qualities arguably make him more valuable overall than some of his flashier counterparts.

And that seemingly telepathic understanding he has with twin Josh, a rock-solid defender who also has a century of NRL tries to his name, is another trump card.

Their performance on the right side in NSW’s heroic 2014 series-opening victory has gone down in Blues Origin folklore, but their left-edge combination could drive the Bulldogs towards a third grand final in five seasons.

The reliable Sam Perrett is in sound form on the other wing, while Curtis Rona is making an excellent fist of the centre position.

It’s one hell of backline, particularly when it’s being fed by a pair of livewire halves behind a monster forward pack with a penchant for second-phase.

With an impressive three-match winning streak behind them, perhaps it’s time to edge the Bulldogs alongside the ‘Big Four’ – North Queensland, Brisbane, Melbourne and Cronulla – in the 2016 title stakes.

[YouTube – VAC 2016]

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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