Hasler allays Morris and Hopoate injury fears


Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs coach Des Hasler is confident Brett Morris and Will Hopoate will be ready for the start of the new NRL season, despite concerns over their fitness.

Reports in Australia suggested Morris was set to miss the first month of the campaign with a knee injury.

However, Hasler expects the wing to be available for their opening fixture against Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles on March 4.

The coach also allayed fears over the condition of Hopoate, who limped off with a knee problem just before half-time in the Bulldogs' 24-20 loss in a trial match against Penrith Panthers on Saturday.

"[Hopoate] just jarred it, so we just pulled him off as a precaution," said Hasler. "He played okay, it was just good to get everyone out there for 40 minutes.

"We're pretty sure [Morris will] start the season. It's just about maintenance.

"[Overall the trial] was a good chance for everyone from both sides to have a game. A couple of them have a few bumps and bruises but everything is okay.

"It was just a matter of getting out there. It's been a long off-season so it's all about getting on to the field and playing a little bit."