Des Hasler
Des Hasler Getty Images

The five options left for Bulldogs to replace Michael Ennis

IT MIGHT be easier picking up a prize in Powerball or Lotto than working out who Bulldogs coach Des Hasler will name to replace injured hooker Michael Ennis in Sunday night's NRL grand final showdown with sentimental favourites South Sydney.

Hasler joked through the week Ennis would play, naming him in his 17-man squad, even if he had the push him out in a wheelchair.

The reality for Ennis and Bulldogs fans, though, is someone else will fill his key role at dummy half.

Just who that player might be has triggered a nationwide guessing game as the mind games continued for another day.

A telephone poll of some rugby league's media experts only confused things, with one suggesting Ennis, who has two bones fractured in his mid-foot, could yet make a miracle recovery and take the field which would be one of, if not the most remarkable injury story in 106 years of rugby league.

Here are some options being tossed around by media, players and coaches contacted by APN for their predictions.

Option 1: Rookie youngster Moses Mbye, a five-eighth who has played a little hooker, starts at No.9 and if necessary rotates with NSW Origin five-eighth Josh Reynolds when needed. This is a sound option even though 21-year-old Mbye lacks experience and could be over-awed by playing a grand final so soon.

Option 2: Playing the vastly experienced and tough Renie Maitua at hooker.

Option 3: Start 'T-Rex' Tony Williams at five-eighth with Reynolds moving to dummy half.

Option 4: Pluck Damien Cook, who is at least a specialist hooker, from reserve grade, although did not include the 23-year-old, who has played just four first grade games in two season for the Dogs, in the team.

Option 5: Hasler, who has won a grand final 40-0 with Manly and was 2008 Rugby League International Federation coach of the year, will pull something completely out of left field to shock everyone.

Whatever he does, fans will have to wait until just before kick-off on Sunday night to find out.

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