Matt Attard previews the Sunday afternoon clash between the Bulldogs and the Warriors. This is what we have to look forward to.
Despite only winning two games, the Bulldogs have provided their fans with guts, determination and heart in the face of adversity this season. They displayed this in their 29-28 loss to the Wests Tigers. It was five tries each (Nick Meaney, Marcelo Montoya, Matt Doorey, Aiden Tolman, Kerrod Holland), with Luke Brooks’ 77th minute field goal the difference for the Tigers.
A win this weekend will lift them off the bottom of the ladder.
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors, with five wins, have shown similar guts, determination and heart in the face of adversity this season. They came back from 16-0 down against the red-hot Panthers, only to lose 18-12. They’re still an outside chance of making the finals.
1. Will Hopoate 2. Nick Meaney 3. Tim Lafai 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Reimis Smith 6. Kieran Foran 7. Jack Cogger 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Aiden Tolman 11. Matt Doorey 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Josh Jackson 14. Sione Katoa 15. Luke Thompson 16. Sauaso Sue 17. Jake Averillo 19. Renouf To’omaga 20. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 21. Chris Smith 23. Lachlan Lewis.
New Zealand Warriors
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Adam Pompey 3. Hayze Perham 4. Peta Hiku 5. George Jennings 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Karl Lawton 10. Lachlan Burr 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga 14. Wayde Egan 15. Adam Blair 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Jack Murchie 18. Paul Turner 20. Gerard Beale 21. Josh Curran 23. Tom Ale.
Of the two teams, the Warriors have scored just 13 more points that the blue and whites, however the Bulldogs have uncovered their attack under interim coach Steve Georgiallis.
Since he took over from Dean Pay they have scored 22, 18, 16, 10, and 28 points, compared that to the previous five games before Pay’s demise (eight, 10, six, 18, and six points); it shows a change to a brand of football that Bulldogs fans have longed for.
The Warriors aren’t without an impressive run themselves. Over the past month they pushed heavyweights Penrith to the edge, beat the Sea Eagles (26-22) and Wests (26-20) and led the premiers the Sydney Roosters 10-6 before eventually succumbing to two late tries to lose 18-10.
What it shows is a desire for both sides to show up for their teammates, club and fans. It should make for an interesting watch, with two teams having nothing to lose.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Jamayne Taunoa-Brown vs Ofahiki Ogden
Both of these young props are similar in age and will start in the front row on the weekend. For Taunoa-Brown, 2020 has been a debut season unlike any he could have expected, but he has taken the opportunity with both hands.
He averages 10 runs and 95 metres per game while tackling at 95 per cent (379 from 401 so far). Ogden, a former Warrior, had a slow start and was not selected until recently, but he’s made a real fist of things.
Since starting three weeks ago he has shown no reason to drop him back to the bench, and last week ran for 155 metres. It should be a good battle between two strong and eager rookie props who will be desperate to inspire their troops from the front.
The Bulldogs went close to beating Parramatta, and should have beaten Wests last week after fighting back from a big deficit. On the other hand, the Warriors are playing really solid football despite a plethora of interruptions, including players leaving to head home. This is a tough one to tip, but I’m going for the Bulldogs in a close one.
Bulldogs by six.
Date: Sunday, August 23rd.
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney.