2015 NRL Match Preview: St George-Illawarra Dragons vs Canterbury Bulldogs

Date: Sunday April 12 2015

Venue: ANZ Stadium

Kick-Off: 4pm

Dragons: 1 Josh Dugan 2 Eto Nabuli 3 Euan Aitken 4 Dylan Farrell 5 Jason Nightingale 6 Gareth Widdop 7 Benji Marshall 8 Leeson Ah Mau 9 Mitch Rein 10 Mike Cooper 11 Tyson Frizell 12 Joel Thompson 13 Trent Merrin Interchange 14 George Rose 15 Jack de Belin 16 Jake Marketo 17 Heath L’Estrange 20 Rory O’Brien

Bulldogs: 1. Sam Perrett 2. Curtis Rona 3. Josh Morris 4. Moses Mbye 5. Corey Thompson 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Tim Browne 11. Josh Jackson 12. Tony Williams 13. Greg Eastwood Interchange 14. Lloyd Perrett 15. Antonio Kaufusi 16. Frank Pritchard 17. Chase Stanley 18. Danny Fualalo

Canterbury are decimated leading into their clash with St George-Illawarra at ANZ Stadium this Sunday.

They return to the venue where ugly scenes erupted near full-time just nine days earlier that ended with suspensions and injuries to key backs Brett Morris and Tim Lafai.  The well publicised suspensions of James Graham and David Klemmer will see the pair out for four and three weeks respectively.  Sam Kasiano banned for two weeks.  Sam Perrett moves to the back with Corey Thompson to play on the wing.  Tim Browne will start in the front row with Lloyd Perrett and Antonio Kaufusi added to the interchange.

Canterbury will face a St George-Illawarra side that are going from strength to strength after their come from behind victory against the Raiders and their shut out of Newcastle at Hunter Stadium last Saturday night.  Rory O’Brien is the eighteenth man in an unchanged line-up intent on four consecutive victories against a depleted opponent.  Gareth Widdop will turn out for his one-hundredth National Rugby League game.

What’s been impressive about the Dragons has been their defense.  They’ve only conceded four points in the past two matches as they applied pressure on the Knights who came up empty.  The Bulldogs will test the defensive line with Perrett, Josh Morris and young gun Curtis Rona capable in getting to the line.  Where the game is likely to be decided is in the halves.  Benji Marshall and Widdop face New South Wales Origin pairing Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson.  It’s to be determined the mindset of the Bulldogs after the final mad minutes of the Good Friday clash with South Sydney especially with influential James Graham banned for the next month.

Prediction It’s a game the Dragons should win on paper but never underestimate the Bulldog spirit against adversity.  If the Dogs win it will be hailed a great victory against the odds.  For me it’s the Dragons by twelve.

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