“He found me,” Flanagan said. “I was a bit stunned there. He was looking for me, but he has played State of Origin and he has played for Australia so it is always good going up against him.
“I felt that I am the dominant kicker on the team and I can feel the heat coming, but I will have to work on that in my own game and spread my kicking game and the workload across the whole team.”
Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett still has a call on who will partner Flanagan in the halves for Canterbury’s season opener against Newcastle.
Brandon Wakeham wore the No.6 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium with Jake Averillo racing the clock to be fit for round one with a minor injury.
The Bulldogs have tried to prise Matt Burton from Penrith for this season after the five-eighth agreed to join the Bulldogs from 2022.
The Panthers have so far rebuffed all interest in Burton and even proposed a player swap with Dylan Napa, which Canterbury didn’t consider.
“We’ve got a few that will be racing the clock for round one,” Barrett said. “Averillo, [Ray Faitala]-Mariner, [Dylan] Napa so we’ve just got to get through the next week.”
Luke Thompson will miss the opening four matches of the season for an eye gouge in the final round loss to the Panthers last year.
Barrett was buoyed by the efforts of new boys Flanagan, Nick Cotric, Jack Hetherington and Corey Waddell as his side erased a 12-point half-time deficit to beat the Sharks thanks to a winning try from school teacher Brad Deitz.
“I thought Nick Cotric was pretty good, he had some strong backfield carries and I am still working on my combinations with Corey Allan,” Flanagan said. “Hopefully Jake Averillo comes back in the next few weeks for round one but I thought it was a good start.”
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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