Matt Attard previews the Monday night clash between the Bulldogs and the Roosters. This is what we have to look forward to.
Before last weekend’s match you would have put your life savings on the Roosters. However the return of Kieran Foran and some smart team changes by coach Dean Pay has the Bulldogs barking.
They were a hugely different team against the Dragons, although there are still some question marks over their attacking ability. Foran was a massive difference, lifting his team and leading them around the park.
Will Hopoate moving back to fullback was a masterstroke and Raymond Faitala-Mariner starting was another bold move that worked last week.
The Roosters, while still a powerhouse team, are vulnerable if their forwards can be tamed. But that wasn’t the case last week, when they smashed the Broncos.
Boom prop Lindsay Collins didn’t miss a tackle and ran for 272 metres from 22 runs – simply amazing. This allowed Luke Keary and Kyle Flanagan to improve their combinations and pile on 59 points.
1. Will Hopoate 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Jake Averillo 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Adam Elliott 14. Christian Crichton 15. Renouf To’omaga 16. Dean Britt 17. Sauaso Sue 19. Ofahiki Ogden 20. Brandon Wakeham 21. Morgan Harper 22. Jack Cogger.
1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Angus Crichton 13. Victor Radley 14. Sam Verrills 15. Isaac Liu 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins 18. Sitili Tupouniua 19. Mitchell Aubusson 20. Ryan Hall 21. Lachlan Lam.
The Bulldogs gave themselves no hope in rounds three and four with appalling completion rates. Last week, they completed all but six sets in a display where they hogged possession from their opposition.
The Roosters are no strangers to high completion rates. It’s a basic that they’re very good at, which is a reason they’ve been so successful.
If the Bulldogs are to give themselves even the slightest chance they need to put in another stellar performance with their hands. A high error count will see the Roosters punish them with points.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Dylan Napa v Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
The big boppers – who are good mates off the field – will be doing all they can to boost their team on the weekend. Both men are big hitters and both must lead from the front.
Last week, Napa made 29 of 29 tackles and ran for 197 metres from 20 runs – an admirable performance and one the Bulldogs will be hoping for every week from the former Origin star.
Waerea-Hargreaves was outplayed by his front row partner last week (not that he will be complaining), yet still managed not to miss a tackle and ran for 133 metres from 11 runs in a shortened stint.
Although they should be far more competitive than the Broncos were, the Roosters will also be a very different team than the Dragons. I can’t go past a Roosters win here.
Prediction: Sydney Roosters by 14.
Date: Monday June 15 (deferred from Sunday June 14)
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney