By Chris Kennedy (NRL.com)
The new-look NSW right edge combination of Will Hopoate and Josh Dugan have reassured teammates they will be right on the night after slotting into team plays quicker than expected, according to five-eighth Josh Reynolds.
The contrasting pair – non-drinking Mormon Will Hopoate and reformed bad-boy, the heavily-tattooed Dugan, seem poles apart but have been rooming together in Blues camp and are often seen engaged in deep conversation.
According to Reynolds the pair – both currently right centres at their respective clubs, Parramatta and St George Illawarra – could well be exchanging ideas on how to defend in the tricky position.
"It’s a hard position reading defence. They talk about when they feel they need to come in and stay out. Probably just letting each other know to trust each other. Whatever Duges does, Hop needs to do. If they are on the same page they’ll shut down the defence," he said.
The rest of the squad has been really happy with Dugan and Hopoate, especially the way they’ve come in and been confident in their roles, Reynolds said.
"Especially Duges, because he doesn't usually play that position. He has given me so much confidence going into Wednesday night. They have been really good – more in the fact how they’ve picked it up so fast," he said.
"I thought it might’ve taken them three or four days to pick up the plays but we went over them a couple of times together straight away they jumped on board. That shows the class of player they are, not much fazes them and that's what you want.
"You want Duges and Hop to be in a good mindset, not necessarily worrying about the plays but just worrying what they have to do."
He said there was no question the contrasting couple were "two very different guys".
"I think that can be good. Duges is always in the game and making sure he's up in people’s faces. Then you have Hop who is the cool and calm guy. I think they might help each other out in that sense. It’s a combination that I definitely feel is working," Reynolds said.