Thurston gives Bulldogs rookie NRL final advise

SYDNEY – Dally M player of the year Johnathan Thurston has advised Canterbury youngster Moses Mbye to energise his Bulldogs teammates should he be called into today’s grand final.

Exciting rookie Mbye has been compared to Thurston coming through the ranks but the similarities don’t end there.

In 2004, Thurston, who started his career at the Bulldogs, was a late call-up to the interchange bench to replace injured skipper Steve Price – with Canterbury going on to beat the Sydney Roosters for the premiership.

Now Mbye is poised for his own baptism of fire in Sunday’s grand final against South Sydney as the prime candidate to replace captain Michael Ennis, who is battling foot fractures.

Mbye’s eight games of first grade have come mainly in his preferred position in the halves, but Thurston has tipped the 20-year-old to be used as a bench dummy-half option against the Rabbitohs and says the youngster needs to think differently.

Thurston implored Mbye to not get bogged down by nerves and feelings of not belonging, and to immerse himself in the action and let teammates know everything is going to be fine.

“It’s tough. He needs to prepare as if he’s playing off the bench and the role of the bench person is to come on and provide a bit of spark,” said Thurston.

“He needs to bring that energy around the boys and they need to feel that energy to give them a lift.

“That’ll be his role so hopefully he gets the call-up and does a good job there.

“He goes good on that left side, he’s a left-footer, but his role will be completely different to what he’s done in the past.”

Canterbury coach Des Hasler is keeping his cards close to his chest and could play veteran Reni Maitua instead of Mbye in the event Ennis is out.

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