Young Matt Frawley has been a revelation for the Canterbury side in recent weeks. He took over from a suspended Moses Mbye in the round 5 clash with Brisbane and his boot may have single-handedly won the Dogs that game.
He forced more goal line dropouts in that game than Mbye and Josh Reynolds managed in the first 4 weeks of the competition. In the Good Friday game against South Sydney he came off the bench early for Michael Lichaa and Mbye moved to Hooker; this change immediately shifted the momentum of the game, the Bulldogs went on to score 4 tries including 3 unanswered in the second half.
But could Frawley push Mbye out of the team altogether?
Frawley looks completely in control when on the park; the pressure from defenders does not seem to faze him at all. He is able to put in good attacking kicks that put the defence under pressure, and the Bulldogs have looked a lot more threatening because of it.
He has shown a lot of skill and confidence, a perfect example of this being the solo effort against the Knights where he took the ball through the line and trusted himself to get over for the try; this moment completely swung the game the Dog’s way.
The emergence of Marcelo Montoya as a legitimate threat on cross-field kicks has only further highlighted the ability of Frawley.
Josh Reynolds and Moses Mbye have been criticised for their lack of purpose in attack, at least in terms of kicking; but with Frawley in the side, Reynolds is freed up to play the run n’ gun style of footy that made him so effective for the team in previous years.
What to do with Mbye
Last week after 25 minutes Michael Lichaa was subbed off and Moses Mbye was moved into dummy half. His speed around the ruck and willingness to take on the line proved very dangerous in attack. Lichaa has started to run the ball more in recent weeks but he lacks the speed elusiveness of Mbye and as I’ve said previously, he sometimes seems afraid of taking a hit.
The big difference between the two is their defence; Lichaa is good for roughly 40-50 tackles per game and is much bigger than Mbye. Mbye is liable for a few missed tackles each game purely because of his size and team’s willingness to run the ball at him, but he has shown a good degree of competence in his ability to tackle bigger defenders.
Matt Frawley is an excellent young player; he has shown in his 3 games an ability to lead the team around the park and brings an attacking flair that has been missing from the side for a long time.
Moses Mbye’s ability to run the ball, his speed and overall attacking threat is too good to leave out of the side; these skills suit the dummy half role for the Bulldogs perfectly.
This leaves Michael Lichaa out of the side. An attacking liability, he rarely offers anything besides his tackling. It’s only fitting he is left out considering he’s already been told to look elsewhere beyond this year.
Drop Lichaa, move Mbye to 9 and Frawley into the starting side at 7.