The Canterbury Bulldogs will be eager to restore their success on Saturday afternoon at Suncorp Stadium when they take on a Newcastle Knights side full of confidence.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Coming off the back of a narrow loss to the Manly Sea Eagles in round eight, the Bulldogs will be determined to secure victory in this clash to edge themselves off the bottom of the ladder.
The Knights’ impressive victories in rounds seven (Parramatta Eels) and eight (New Zealand Warriors) effectively kick started their 2019 campaign. Provided that they replicate their electric attack and gruelling defence, the Knights are on track to make it three on the trot.
Whilst only named as a reserve, five eighth Kieran Foran is set to return from injury. With Lachlan Lewis dropped on Thursday, Rhyse Martin and Kerrod Holland are expected to be involved with coach Dean Pay’s reshuffle. In a further change, Corey Harawira-Naera will not play (personal reasons).
Canterbury Bulldogs squad: 1 Nick Meaney, 2 Jayden Okunbor, 3 Kerrod Holland, 4 Will Hopoate, 5 Reimis Smith, 7 Jack Cogger, 7 Lachlan Lewis, 8 Aiden Tolman, 9 Jeremy Marshall-King, 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Josh Jackson, 12 Corey Harawira-Naera, 13 Rhyse Martin. Interchange: 14 Fa’amanu Brown, 15 Danny Fualalo, 16 Adam Elliott, 17 Sauaso Sue. Reserves: 19 Kieran Foran, 21 Marcelo Montoya, 22 Ofahiki Ogden, 23 Chris Smith.
The Knights’ winning line-up remains unchanged.
Newcastle Knights squad: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Edrick Lee, 3 Hymel Hunt, 4 Stone Mata’utia, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Mitchell Pearce, 8 David Klemmer, 9 Danny Levi, 10 Daniel Saifiti, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Mitchell Barnett, 13 Tim Glasby. Interchange: 14 Kurt Mann, 15 Herman Ese’ese, 16 James Gavet, 17 Josh King. Reserves: 18 Mason Lino, 19 Pasami Saulo, 20 Jamie Buhrer, 21 Jesse Ramien.
HEAD TO HEAD
Off the back of a frustrating eight point loss to Manly in round seven, the Bulldogs will be hoping to improve on their consistency and tackle efficiency. The return of five eighth Kieran Foran from a shoulder injury should assist, as he is likely to increase the level of structure in attack and cohesiveness in defence. Given the sheer size and unpredictability of the Knights’ forward pack, the Bulldogs must continually restrict offloads and post contact metres. Keeping them at bay will ensure that electric fullback Kalyn Ponga is not given a licence to roam.
The Knights will no doubt be looking to replicate their 91% completion rate (round eight) in this match. If the Knights’ forwards are able to dominate and charge down the middle of the field in the early exchanges of the match, their speedy backline will be provided with the space they need to devastate the Bulldogs’ tiring defence. With 9 Knights players running for over 100 metres last week, another big performance is expected from Nathan Brown’s men.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday, May 11 2019
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Kick-off: 3:00pm (AEST)
WHO WILL WIN?
Whilst the Bulldogs will show plenty of fight, expect the Knights to continue their winning streak with a narrow victory.