Matt Attard previews the Sunday evening clash between the Bulldogs and the Tigers. This is what we have to look forward to.
Anyone who thinks the Bulldogs aren’t having a red hot go are kidding themselves. But it’s clear to see they are about $3 million worth of top quality players short – funnily enough the same amount they are said to have to spend on new players for 2021.
They were very good in patches against the Sharks, unlucky in some areas, and simply not good enough in others.
The Tigers were dynamic and brilliant in the opening 40 minutes against the Cowboys, where they scored 34 unanswered points, before perhaps eating some nasty oranges at half time and almost throwing the game away.
1. Will Hopoate 2. Reimis Smith 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Jake Averillo 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Kieran Foran 7. Brandon Wakeham 8. Renouf To’omaga 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Adam Elliott 14. Jack Cogger 15. Dean Britt 16. Sauaso Sue 17. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Sione Katoa 20. Lachlan Lewis 21. Aiden Tolman 22. Nick Meaney.
1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Luke Brooks 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Oliver Clark 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Matt Eisenhuth 14. Elijah Taylor 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Sam McIntyre 17. Michael Chee-Kam 18. Benji Marshall 19. Chris Lawrence 20. Billy Walters 21. Reece Hoffman
The Bulldogs have won five of their last seven against the Tigers, including a two-point win in round 21 last season.
David Nofoaluma has scored six tries for the season, sitting just behind Kyle Feldt on eight. Wests have scored 141 points this season while the Bulldogs have managed just 70. The Tigers also complete, on average, at a higher percentage than the Bulldogs.
The only area the Bulldogs seem to be in front is penalties conceded, with Wests proving to be about two penalties worse off per match than their opponents.
What the stats don’t show is the love-it-or-hate-it six again rule. It killed the Bulldogs last week. While many will fairly argue referee Adam Gee waved the muscles right out of his arm, it’s no secret a successful team is disciplined.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak v David Nofoaluma
Both of these wingers are dynamic runners of the ball, not afraid to do the hard yards to gain territory. They can hit like a brick you-know-what, leap high and score points.
On one hand, DWZ has played across fullback, wing and centre, and averages 20 runs for 174 metres per match. He’s yet to find the try line in his two matches on the wing this season.
On the other, Nofoaluma averages 19 runs for 201 metres per match. He is near the top of the try scoring ladder.
They will oppose each other on the weekend, with DWZ playing left wing and Nofoaluma on the right. It should make for an interesting contest, with Nofoaluma the shorter of the two by some margin when you take reach into account. The home side could find success bombing the Tigers’ right edge.
Prediction: Last week I tipped the Bulldogs and I think they were unlucky to lose. This week, however, I have to tip the Tigers. They’ll be hungry off the back of a very disappointing second half and will be looking to express that in attack.
Tigers by 10.
Date: Sunday, June 28th.
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney.