Canterbury legend Hazem El Masri says coach Des Hasler should overlook Josh Morris as a fullback option as the NRL club seek a replacement for Ben Barba.
Canterbury legend Hazem El Masri has urged coach Des Hasler to resist the temptation to move Josh Morris to fullback permanently as the Bulldogs prepare for life without Ben Barba.
Morris filled in capably at fullback last season when Barba was out injured but El Masri said the State of Origin star was such a force at centre that he should stay there next NRL season.
“They have tried Morris at fullback and he is such a star he can play anywhere but I still prefer him at centre,” El Masri told AAP.
“He is a real champion centre that has dominated that position for quite a while.
“The great thing about the Bulldogs is they always manage to uncover someone somewhere over time.
“They have got great juniors and a great coaching staff and I’m sure they will be able to find another fullback.
“They have a whole off-season to try and find someone.”
Brisbane No.1 Josh Hoffman has been strongly linked to Belmore in what would effectively be a straight swap for Barba who now calls the northern capital home.
Warriors and New Zealand No.1 Kevin Locke, who is set to be ousted from the fullback spot in Auckland by big money English recruit Sam Tomkins, is another possible acquisition for Hasler.
Sam Perrett, Krisnan Inu and Mitch Brown are all possibilities to fill the role from within.
El Masri said the Bulldogs’ season would not hinge on who replaced Barba in the custodian role and he was confident the club could bounce back from a disappointing 2013 when they were bundled out of the finals in the first round after their charge to the grand final the season before.
“They will want to put last season behind them and start afresh,” the former Kangaroos’ winger said.
“I was at the presentation night and the players were saying what a disappointing year it was as a whole.
“Sometimes as a club, as a team, you have these little hiccups and it is about bouncing back and the Bulldogs are a club that always pride themselves on success and hopefully it will be no different next year.”