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Holbrook: Bulldogs must not seek revenge for Fa'asuamaleaui's Origin attack on Burton

By AAP
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Justin Holbrook has warned his Gold Coast players not to become involved in a tit-for-tat battle with Canterbury rivals seeking retribution on Tino Fa’asuamaleaui for Matt Burton.

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The issue of Fa’asuamaleaui and Burton’s State of Origin scuffle has been thrown into the headlines again this week, with Tevita Pangai vowing to protect his Bulldogs halfback.

Canterbury and NSW players had been angered when Fa’asuamaleaui held Burton in a headlock in Origin III, as Queensland star Dane Gagai landed a flurry of punches to Burton’s head.

But Holbrook claimed on Saturday he was disappointed the issue had come up in the lead-up to the round 19 clash, adamant there should be no flow-on effect from Origin into club football.

“We’ve just got to make sure we keep our discipline,” Holbrook said.

“It has been blown out of proportion. It was an incident in an Origin game, he was breaking up a fight.

“And all of a sudden it has turned into a Bulldogs v Titans battle.

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“I am a bit disappointed, I know we are looking at different ways to promote games, but I don’t think that is the right answer.

“I don’t know how you get one back on them the way the game is played these days, that can’t happen. They can try whatever they like, we’ll just play footy.”

Burton at least received good news on Saturday, with his main attacking weapon Josh Addo-Carr on track to recover from an ankle injury and play at Accor Stadium.

Declan Casey will play fullback with Jake Averillo sidelined by COVID-19, denting his return to form in the No.1 jersey for the Bulldogs.

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Gold Coast are a team desperately in needing to find some form.

A loss on Sunday would leave them at risk of being last on the ladder, while Holbrook’s defensive coach Jim Dymock was axed earlier this month.

Holbrook again pointed to his team’s inexperience as part of their issues, after letting the likes of Jamal Fogarty, Ash Taylor and Mitch Rein go at the end of last year.

The under-pressure Titans coach has identified hooker as the area the club need to boost for next year, with Aaron Booth set to start there again on Sunday and Erin Clark to feature at lock off the bench.

“We’ve got to keep looking hard in that area,” Holbrook said.

“We have said for a few weeks now we want Erin back in that modern-day lock role.

“We have Boothy who is old in age but young in experience.

“We need to strengthen that in the long-term, and it will help Toby (Sexton), Jayden (Campbell) and AJ (Brimson).

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