Legend calls out Bulldogs over ‘bizarre story’
Rugby league legend Mark Geyer believes young Canterbury halfback Kyle Flanagan hasn't "done himself any favours" by highlighting the attention he copped from opposition forwards in a trial game at the weekend.
The 22-year-old halfback helped lead the Bulldogs to a 16-12 trials victory over his former club Cronulla on Saturday.
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But he then told media he wasn't a fan of some treatment from one-time teammate Wade Graham during the contest.
"Wade Graham was trying to take my head off on the weekend," Flanagan said.
It prompted his Bulldogs teammate and backrower Adam Elliott to declare he will take it upon himself to better protect Flanagan during the NRL season.
But Geyer was confused by the entire story.
"It's a funny one. I don't know whether young Flanagan just put a bigger target on his head by saying this," Geyer told Triple M's The Rush Hour.
"We all know rugby league is a game of bash and barge, the utmost aggression. My role when I was playing was try to get my hands on the opposing halfback as much as I could, because that would stop their attack … their kicking game.
"It's a bizarre story because I don't know what you get out of it. I don't know what you get out of Adam Elliott coming out and saying 'we're going to be guard dogs', that goes without saying.
"When I played at Penrith back in the day, (Greg) Brandy Alexander was like a god to us, if some other forward laid their hands on Brandy then we hadn't done our job, and we would get our a**e kicked from here to Broken Hill.
"This has been going on for 115 years, the halfbacks are always targeted.
"I don't know if Kyle Flanagan has done himself any favours by saying 'Wade Graham was trying to knock my head off' because that's his job, that's his job. He's not doing his job if he's not trying to knock the playmaker's head off."
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Geyer says the best teams in the NRL competition generally have a forward pack that helps protect the playmakers in the side.
In fact he only had to look to last year's grand final to highlight how important it is for forwards to shield the halfback.
"I think the two grand final teams from last year, Penrith and Melbourne, that's why they were in a grand final - their halfbacks basically played the season in dinner suits," said Geyer, insinuating the playmakers in those teams were able to escape being battered by opposition.
"Trent Barrett should have a good perspective on that because he was the attacking coach for the Panthers, so he knows how to keep his playmakers out of harm's way.
"I don't know whether it's a ploy from the Dogs to get referees looking at Dogs playmakers a little bit more than others."
Originally published as Legend calls out Bulldogs over 'bizarre story'