Canberra head to the Doghouse to face the Belmore boys in a clash where both teams will look to getting back on track after disappointing losses the week prior – and with the shadow of the bye round looming they’ll want to go in to their off week on a high.
LAST TIME OUT
The Bulldogs were upset by the Tigers 18-12 after copping a sin bin to flanker Brenko Lee, from which the men from Concord put on a try in that exact corridor. The forwards couldn’t get on their roll and they looked disjointed, but were still ever-stern in defense (despite what was said by Andrew Johns and Phil Gould), and conceded only two tries – one of which was with only twelve men on the park. They’ll have to do the same and aim up again in D to weather out a powerful Raiders outfit.
Dylan Walker taking two from a penalty goal sunk the golden point bound Raiders 20-18, Manly and the Million Dollar Man the second to leave the national capital with competition points in the bag. Freak efforts from Jordan Rapana to score in the corner like last Friday may be what Canberra have that the Bulldogs don’t and could crack the vaunted Canterbury line, but there’s no guarantee the Bulldogs, sixth in the comp for points allowed, will let that happen.
It’s going to get heavy at ANZ Stadium. Sam Kasiano and Greg Eastwood duel with a pair of scale tippers in Junior Paulo and Josh Papalii, with giants such as David Klemmer and Shannon Boyd also dwarfing the forward packs of other teams. The battle between the big men will give the halves of the sides their chance to either shine or bust against the Sydney evening backdrop on Saturday night. And that’s before we get to Danny Fualalo and Joe Tapine.
Kerrod Holland and Jarrod Croker are some of the league’s best sharpshooters and are depended on often to pot shots from the sidelines with their team’s impressive backlines. Especially if it’s a high scorer, goal kicks could prove the difference between the sides. However, if it’s a low scorer and the sometimes-impotent Bulldogs halves piggyback off the defense, it could even be more important and the difference in a thriller.
They’re expecting it to be a dry track on Saturday but even so both teams will be determined to get back on track regardless of whether the weather holds up. But if the Dogs are going to… weather… the Raiders, then they are going to have to pull out a big defensive show irrespective of their conditions. They bounced with an amazing defensive performance after humiliation at Lottoland and they’ll do the same to the Raiders to hand them a second loss for the season – it’ll be a fight though. The Bulldogs by two.
Bulldogs team: 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 (c) 11 Josh Jackson 12 Greg Eastwood 13 David Klemmer Interchange 14 Sam Kasiano 15 Danny Fualalo 16 Adam Elliott 17 Raymond Faitala-Mariner 19 Francis Tualai 20 Matt Frawley 21 Reimis Smith 23 Will Hopoate
Raiders team: 1 Jack Wighton 2 Nick Cotric 3 Jarrod Croker (c) 4 Joseph Leilua 5 Jordan Rapana 6 Blake Austin 7 Aidan Sezer 8 Junior Paulo 9 Josh Hodgson 10 Shannon Boyd 11 Josh Papalii 12 Elliott Whitehead 13 Joe Tapine Interchange 14 Adam Clydsdale 15 Luke Bateman 16 Clay Priest 17 Iosia Soliola 18 Dunamis Lui 19 Scott Sorensen 20 Makahesi Makatoa 21 Lachlan Croker