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Grand Final pen pics

Published: 6:55PM Friday October 01, 2004 Source: AAP


1. Luke Patten
Age: 24. Height: 190cm. Weight: 86kg.
Safe as houses at the back, the "General" has been one of the more consistent Bulldogs this year. He can bob up anywhere in attack and has an uncanny positional sense in defence.

2. Hazem El Masri
Age: 28. Height: 178cm. Weight: 86kg.
El Masri's greatest asset is his accurate goal-kicking but a hat-trick of tries against the Panthers last weekend demonstrated his undoubted ability to cross the line. Halfback Brent Sherwin loves kicking to El Masri's wing.

3. Ben Harris
Age: 21. Height: 180cm. Weight: 90kg.
One of the hardest-hitting centres in the NRL. Given his chance in first grade after Jamaal Lolesi suffered an ankle injury.

4. Willie Tonga
Age: 21. Height: 183cm. Weight: 95kg.
Has gone from strength to strength since leaving Parramatta to join the `Dogs at the end of last year. The Queensland Origin centre can embarrass opponents with his blistering speed and deceptive footwork and made a fool of rival Justin Hodges at their last meeting.

5. Matt Utai
Age: 23. Height: 168cm. Weight: 93kg.
Utai's main strength comes from his powerfully-built legs. Small in stature but can bulldoze his way over the tryline. Can be susceptible under the high ball.

6. Braith Anasta
Age: 22. Height: 189cm. Weight: 96kg.
Made a successful return from a sternum injury against Penrith, scoring a try and nearly going over for another. Takes the pressure off Sherwin with his long kicking game and penchant for taking on the line.

7. Brent Sherwin
Age: 26. Height: 175cm. Weight: 82kg.
The ringmaster for the Bulldogs. When his game is on, the team usually wins. Opposition sides know all about his dangerous kicking game close to the line, but countering it is another matter.

8. Mark O'Meley
Age: 23. Height: 180cm. Weight: 100kg.
Has been one of the form props in the NRL this year and should be included in Australia's Tri Nations squad. Can also throw a decent pass for a front-rower.

9. Adam Perry
Age: 25. Height: 170cm. Weight: 94kg.
The nuggety hooker doesn't get the accolades his forward teammates enjoy but his value should not be underestimated. A rugged defender who keeps it tight around the ruck and that's a real plus against opposite number Craig Wing.

16. Roy Asotasi
Age: 22. Height: 184cm. Weight: 103kg.
A certainty to be included in New Zealand's squad for the Tri Nations. The prop filled in admirably for the injured Price against the Panthers last weekend.

11. Willie Mason
Age: 24. Height: 195cm. Weight: 115kg.
Mason made the startling admission recently that he didn't used to care about his football and "fell" into rep teams. But a change in attitude in 2004 has been the catalyst for a consistent run of strong performances. He'll be one of the first forwards picked for Australia next month.

12. Andrew Ryan (capt)
Age: 25. Height: 186cm. Weight: 105kg.
Has been widely tipped to take over as captain when Price joins the NZ Warriors at the end of this season. A damaging runner out wide who has scored 13 tries from 25 games in 2004.

13. Tony Grimaldi
Age: 29. Height: 180cm. Weight: 93kg.
Big League magazine dubbed him the "Humble Hero" last week, a fair assessment for a hard toiler who gets the job done every week. Covers a mountain of work in defence and has good leadership qualities.


14. Reni Maitua
Age: 22. Height: 180cm. Weight: 97kg.
Has shown his versatility by starting at five-eighth in place of the injured Anasta in a semifinal against Melbourne. Equally at home in the back-row.

15. Corey Hughes
Age: 26. Height: 177cm. Weight: 89kg.
Had a blinder against the Panthers last weekend. Is adept at running into holes around the ruck and has a solid kicking game.

17. Sonny Bill Williams
Age: 19. Height: 191cm. Weight: 102kg.
The powerful teenager has been getting plenty of raps lately and it's easy to see why. Has the ability to off-load in traffic and has learnt when to chance his arm. Not afraid to do the dirty work and can sting in defence.

18. Jamie Feeney
Age: 26. Height: 183cm. Weight: 95kg.
The try-scoring back rower has had a lean year by his usual standards, scoring only three tries in 15 games.

19. Johnathan Thurston
Age: 21. Height: 179cm. Weight: 80kg.
The classy Thurston is bound for North Queensland next season and he'd love nothing more than to leave Belmore as a member of a premiership-winning side.. Equally at home at half or five-eighth.

Sydney Roosters

1. Anthony Minichiello
Age: 24 Height: 181cm Weight: 88kg.
The Test fullback has been his typical self in recent weeks, bouncing out of tackles and tormenting opposition defenders. A constant threat.

2. Shannon Hegarty
Age: 25 Height: the season with a leg injury, costing him his Queensland and Australian jerseys. He looks to be edging back to his best.

3. Ryan Cross
Age: 24 Height: 191cm Weight: 95kg.
Cross has been arguably the form centre of the NRL this season and looks set to cap his year with a spot on the Kangaroo tour. Blistering speed with a devilish swerve.

4. Justin Hodges
Age: 22 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg.
The enigmatic Hodges has had a mixed season but is getting back to his best. On his day, has the strength and pace to trouble any defender. His battle with Willie Tonga should be a belter.

5. Chris Walker
Age: 24 Height: 184cm Weight: 96kg.
Walker can be exhilarating and exasperating in equal doses. Has speed to burn but has been a liability under the high ball this season and will be tested by Brent Sherwin's pinpoint kicks.

6. Brad Fittler (capt)
Age: 32 Height: 186cm Weight: 96kg.
The grand final will be the brilliant Fittler's last stand, the exclamation point on a fantastic career. At 32, still possesses the step, strength and know-how to break open any game.

7. Brett Finch
Age: 23 Height: 183cm Weight: 86kg.
Finch has been a revelation this season, taking over the running of the team from Fittler. A classy ball-player with a good kicking game and skill to burn. Has a mouth to match.

8. Jason Cayless
Age: 24 Height: 194cm Weight: 108kg.
New Zealand international who does his work with little fanfare. Was one of the Roosters' best in their preliminary final win over North Queensland and won't let them down in the big one.

9. Craig Wing
Age: 24 Height: 180cm Weight: 86kg
Wing has been outstanding over the past two months following a mixed start to the season. Scintillating out of dummy half and one of the club's genuine game-breakers.

10. Adrian Morley
Age: 27 Height: 189cm Weight: 104kg
The Great Britain enforcer is close to the best forward in the world. An aggressive player who stings in defence and rarely runs out of steam.

11. Michael Crocker
Age: 24 Height: 187cm Weight: 100kg.
Like Morley, Crocker loves to mix it with the opposition forwards. The Queenslander has learnt to temper his aggression and is now a recognised State of Origin and Test player.

12. Craig Fitzgibbon
Age: 27 Height: 192cm Weight: 104kg
Fitzgibbon is regarded as one of the fittest players in the game, easily capable of playing 80 minutes. Has a penchant for playing well in grand finals. Can win a game with his accurate goalkicking.

15. Chris Flannery
Age: 24 Height: 186cm Weight: 13kg.
Versatility is Flannery's trademark - equally at home in the outside backs or back row. A Queensland State of Origin player, he needs to overcome a groin injury to play.


14. Chad Robinson
Age: 23 Height: 185cm Weight: 100kg.
Robinson is yet to win a grand final with the Roosters despite being a regular over the past three years. Missed the side for the 2002 decider and then featured in last year's loss to Penrith.

16. Ned Catic
Age: 26 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg.
An honest toiler who has become a valuable member of the Roosters, Catic takes a hit without flinching and dishes them out in return.

17. Anthony Tupou
Age: 21 Height: 186cm Weight: 108kg.
Tupou has been one of the finds of the season. The 21-year-old has great feet and a dangerous off-load and looms as one of the players to be watched in the grand final.

18. Stuart Webb
Age: 24 Height: 180cm Weight: 90kg.
The workaholic utility is equally at home at hooker or lock and a perfect fit for the interchange bench, where his versatility is put to good use by coach Ricky Stuart.

19. Peter Cusack
Age: 27 Height: 193cm Weight: 107kg.
The veteran front rower has been missing in recent weeks after suffering a late-season injury. A grand final appearance would be a fitting farewell for Cusack, who will join Souths in 2005.