Andrew Pelechaty previews the Sunday afternoon clash between the Wests Tigers and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. This is what we have to look forward to.
The Tigers’ finals hopes took a big blow in a heavy loss to Newcastle last weekend, with the Knights scoring eight tries in a 44-4 belting. The Knights raced the clock early, leading 18-0 after 22 minutes. Luciano Leilua scored the Tigers’ only try in the 35th minute, before the Knights scored another five second half tries. The loss saw the Tigers fall to 10th, now two wins behind the eighth-placed Cronulla-Sutherland.
Canterbury had a reality check last Saturday (after a few some encouraging performances) losing 41-10 to Melbourne at the Sunshine Coast. While the Storm raced to a 23-4 halftime lead, an early second-half try to Reimis Smith trimmed the margin to 13. The turning point was in the 55th minute: the Bulldogs were pressing Melbourne’s line, looking for another try, when an errant pass was picked up by Suliasi Vunivalu who ran untouched to score and end the Bulldogs’ hopes. Canterbury are still last, one win behind the 15th-placed Brisbane Broncos.
1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Luke Brooks 7. Benji Marshall 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Russell Packer 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Luke Garner 13. Matt Eisenhuth 14. Thomas Mikaele 15. Josh Reynolds 16. Sam McIntyre 17. Chris Lawrence 18. Asu Kepaoa 19. Shawn Blore 20. Alex Seyfarth 21. Elijah Taylor.
1. Nick Meaney 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Tim Lafai 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Kieran Foran 7. Jack Cogger 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Sione Katoa 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Luke Thompson 14. Jeremy Marshall-King 15. Aiden Tolman 16. Sauaso Sue 17. Reimis Smith 19. Brandon Wakeham 20. Renouf To’omaga 21. Chris Smith 22. Matt Doorey.
The Bulldogs have had the edge over the Tigers since 1998, leading the head-to-head count 23-14. Their last clash was round seven, with the Tigers winning 34-6, scoring seven tries to one.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Benji Marshall vs Jack Cogger
Sensationally dropped after the Tigers’ shock round four loss to the Gold Coast Titans at Lang Park (despite kicking what should have been the game-winning field goal), Marshall has used all of his experience to get back into the number seven, returning for the round nine mauling of the Broncos. Sadly for Marshall, the Tigers have struggled ever since, losing three in a row. If the Tigers are to win this, Benji will need to dip into his bag of tricks and create some try-scoring opportunities.
While Marshall has been in the NRL since 2003, his opponent Jack Cogger has only played 39 games. He’s played three games in 2020: starting at halfback against Manly Warringah (round three), and coming off the bench against the Tigers (round seven) and Parramatta (round 12). If Canterbury are to upset the Tigers, Cogger will need to step up and match Marshall in the crucial playmaker role, despite the gulf in experience.
The Tigers will still be embarrassed after their loss to Newcastle, so expect them to take their frustration out on the Bulldogs. Canterbury will be gritty as usual, but the Tigers – who need to win to stay in the top eight mix – have too much to play for.
Wests Tigers by 10.
Date: Sunday, August 16.
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney.