NRL 2020: Wakeham’s bold call: “I don’t like any team”

Canterbury rookie halfback Brandon Wakeham has boldly declared he doesn’t like any rival NRL team and he won’t be bullied, starting with Sunday’s blockbuster match-up against South Sydney veterans Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker.

Wakeham has only played seven NRL games compared with Reynolds and Walker’s combined total of 291 matches, but the Chester Hill junior isn’t daunted.

Instead, he has vowed to go punch for punch with his more experienced Rabbitohs rivals.

“Personally, I’ll have a rivalry with any team – I don’t like any team,” Wakeham said.

“I never want to take a backwards step because that means that I’ve already lost the game if I do that.

“I haven’t played against them (Walker and Reynolds), but I’ve seen plenty of their footy and I love the way they play.

“It will be a really good opportunity to test myself against those two.

“They have both played Origin, so it is going to be a challenging task for me to get one over them, but I’m looking forward to it.

“If I can just bring that energy and talk, hopefully I can inspire the team.”

Brandon Wakeham is ready to inspire the Bulldogs. Picture: AAP Image/David NeilsonSource:AAP

Wakeham hasn’t won since returning to the Canterbury side in the past two weeks, but he has shown strong signs through his effort and talk.

He is particularly impressive when he runs the ball, although he is a hard maker on his form.

“In the last couple of weeks, I probably haven’t been doing the best, so I’m looking forward to getting another opportunity this week,” he said.

“Hopefully, I can do better for the team.”

Wakeham revealed his halves partner Kieran Foran has played a vital role in instilling confidence.

Foran has won a premiership at Manly and played on the Test stage for New Zealand, so when he speaks any young playmaker should listen.

“Kieran has told the whole team that if you see an opportunity, don’t be scared to take it,” Wakeham said.

“He said that even if it doesn’t come off, the guys will still be there to back each other.

“I watch him at training and how he gets around the boys and the kind of talk that he brings to the team in training and the games.”

Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman has faith in Wakeham to steer the side around the park despite his inexperience.

“He is only a young guy coming into the squad, and he has got to know that he has our full support,” Tolman said.

“He has just got to play the way that he needs to. He is in the side for a reason and he deserves his spot, so he has got to make sure that he plays with plenty of enthusiasm and demand from us forwards what he wants.”

Meanwhile, Tolman wouldn’t be surprised if British recruit Luke Thompson make his NRL debut for the club against Souths after he trained strongly on Wednesday.

“I think he (Luke) wants to play this weekend and most of the squad want him to,” Tolman said.

“I guess it depends on what our high-performance guys come up with and if he is ready.

“But if he feels like he is physically ready to play, then I’m sure he will get the chance to play this weekend.”



Originally published asWakeham ready for star Rabbitohs rivals

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