Bulldogs in cover for Hopoate NRL absence

Brett Morris has been training at fullback for Canterbury as the Bulldogs plan for a possible finals match without Will Hopoate.

Hopoate’s religious beliefs stop him from playing on Sundays.

Unless Canterbury can secure a top-four berth they look likely to play on a Sunday during the first week of the NRL finals.

Morris starred at fullback for the Bulldogs last year and is ready to move there from the wing again if he is needed.

“I have played a lot of football there, it is not an issue for me,” Morris said on Monday.

“These days you train in a few positions. You are not just accustomed to playing one position.

“You have to feel comfortable in a range of positions, it is not something I am worried about.”

Canterbury play South Sydney in the NRL’s final round on Friday night.

If all the favourites win this weekend, the Bulldogs will be scheduled to meet Penrith in a sudden-death final in week one of the finals.

That game has been played on Sunday for the past four seasons since the NRL altered its finals format.

Hopoate sat out three Sunday matches earlier this season.

“I have no idea if he will play,” Morris said.

“That is something that is between (coach Des Hasler) and Will and whatever decision is made, the players will support it 100 per cent.

“That is the great thing about Will, his faith. He is a humble guy and he is great to have around the club.

“It is out of our control. It is up to the NRL when we play in the finals and it is up to Des who he picks.”

The Bulldogs will likely be boosted by the return of outside back Sam Perrett from a neck injury.

Perrett is a 50-50 chance to play against Souths but should definitely be fit for a return for the first week of the playoffs.

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