The Bulldogs and the Rabbitohs take to ANZ Stadium to meet in their traditional Good Friday clash where they have played some recent stunners, both looking to build off wins in round six and ensconce themselves well in to the top eight.
LAST TIME OUT
The Bulldogs went by the Knights five tries to two, but only by ten points in a 22-12 win up at Newy, showing there’s a clear goalkicking issue to work on. Moses Mbye is unreliable on conversions and shouldn’t even be in the starting lineup, but they are sure to be bolstered in that department with the return of goalkicking back Kerrod Holland. Brad Abbey is out with a concussion so Brett Morris shifts to the number one, and there is likely a market on whether or not his body can hold up – smart money says no.
The Rabbitohs were able to sneak past a curfew-stricken Penrith by potting a field goal with just under a minute left to avoid golden point, holding off a determined comeback attempt from their more fancied opponents. Sam Burgess was closer to the highs that saw him capture both a premiership with the club and the Clive Churchill in 2014, and there is no doubt he should look to aim up against the Belmore boys.
The battle of the benches could decide this game with both sides needing strong forward rotations to get their less-creative outside backlines rolling. The Bulldogs are guaranteed the weight advantage with man mountain of x-factor Sam Kasiano, but look for Robbie Farah to continue some of his recent good work on the bench for the Bunnies. Francis Tualau is named on the Canterbury sheet for a debut game, but there is no way to know if Des Hasler is hiding an ace or a Piccadilly upsleeve with the final bench.
The halves of each side could also go a long way in deciding the victor – while they have looked rudderless with Moses Mbye at seven, the Bulldogs with Matt Frawley at pivot have looked like a genuine premiership contending side. The halves from Redfern have played their way in to popularity and attention with strong performances, the creativity of Cody Walker meshing with the cool head of Adam Reynolds
Des Hasler doesn’t like to lose to the Rabbitohs. Michael Maguire doesn’t like to lose to the Bulldogs. But we can’t all have our way in rugby league, and someone has to lose on Friday. Whether or not Matt Frawley is named to suit up in the final seventeen will decide this game, and if the incumbent Mbye plays then the lack of direction will hurt the Belmore boys, something that only Frawley seemingly provides. The Bulldogs by eight if Frawley plays, but if the young rookie doesn’t then it could go either way.
Bulldogs: 1. Brett Morris 2. Kerrod Holland 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Adam Elliot 13. Greg Eastwood 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Francis Tualau 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 19. Craig Garvey 20. Matt Frawley 21. Renouf To’omaga 23. Reimis Smith
Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Braidon Burns 3. Siosifa Talakai 4. Robert Jennings 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Kyle Turner 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess 14. Robbie Farah 15. Jason Clark 16. Zane Musgrove 17. George Burgess 18. Anthony Cherrington 19. Robbie Rochow 20. Cameron Murray 21. Tyrell Fuimaono