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2021 NRL Round 17 Preview, Bulldogs Vs Roosters

Lachy MacCorquodale previews the Saturday night clash between the Bulldogs and the Roosters. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Date: 10th July, Time: 7:35pm

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

1. Nick Meaney
2. Corey Allan
3. Will Hopoate
4. Aaron Schoupp
5. Tuipulotu Katoa
6. Kyle Flanagan
7. Jake Avarillo
8. Jack Hetherington
9. Sione Katoa
10. Luke Thompson
11. Corey Waddell
12. Joe Stimson
13. Josh Jackson
14. Bailey Biondi-Odo
15. Dylan Napa
16. Ofahiki Ogden
17. Renouf Atoni
19. Lachlan Lewis
20. Jackson Topine
21. Falakiko Manu
22. Chris Patolo

Team Changes

IN: Corey Waddell, Sione Katoa, Aaron Schoupp, Dylan Napa
OUT: Jeremy Marshall-King, Kalakiko Manu, Ava Seumanufagai, Matt Doorey

Sydney Roosters

1. Joseph Manu
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Josh Morris
4. Billy Smith
5. Matt Ikuvalu
6. Drew Hutchison
7. Sam Walker
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
9. Sam Verrills
10. Siosiua Taukeiaho
11. Isaac Liu
12. Sitili Tupouniua
13. Victor Radley
14. Lachlan Lam
15. Egan Butcher
16. Nat Butcher
17. Ben Thomas
18. Adam Keighran
19. Tuku Hau Tapuha
20. Naufahu Whyte
21. Joseph Suaalii

Team Changes

IN: Victor Radley, Billy Smith, Nat Butcher, Ben Thomas
OUT:
Ben Marschke, James Tedesco, Fletcher Baker, Daniel Suluka-Fifita

Referee: Grant Atkins

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Bulldogs

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The Bulldogs need to respond after last week’s 66-point defeat at the hands of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. That loss put the Bulldogs back in last place. The Bulldogs can’t seem to escape Bankwest Stadium after losing their last two games at the venue to Parramatta and Manly by a combined score line of 102 points to 10.

It’s been a tough year for Canterbury after so much promise in the off-season, with talks about the Bulldogs potentially pushing for a spot in the eight but instead sit in last place after 16 rounds. The Bulldogs have only managed to conjure up two wins this season, over the Sharks in round seven and the Dragons in round 14. One of the reasons for the Bulldogs struggles this year is their lack of creativity in attack. Canterbury have only scored 172 points this season (the lowest in the league), averaging 11.5 points scored per game whilst conceding a whopping 31.2 points per game. They have scored 86 point less than the next worst attacking side in the competition, the Brisbane Broncos.

Roosters

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The Sydney Roosters have had a strange year which as seen the likes of Jake Friend, Boyd Cordner and Brett Morris forced into retirement due to their respective injuries. They’re coming off two convincing losses against the top two sides in the competition, Penrith and Melbourne. Trent Robinson’s side has lost those two fixtures by a combined score line of 84 points to 12, which doesn’t bode well for the side’s chances at the end of the season. However, the Roosters have been fairly strong against side’s that aren’t sitting in the top six. Their only loss this year to a side outside the top six teams was to Brisbane in round 11.

Otherwise, they’ve beaten the rest of the competition in fairly convincing fashion. Upcoming games against the Bulldogs and the Cowboys should give the Roosters the opportunity to build some momentum into the finals series, as they try and fight for a top four spot. They will be without their Origin stars this weekend but they’ll still field a strong enough side to come away with the two points.

PREVIEW

The Roosters have struggled (by their standards) defensively this season, having conceded on average 21 points per game. It has been their Achilles heel when they’ve come up against the better side’s in the competition, but it hasn’t deterred them from performing well against the side’s below them on the ladder.

The tricolours should be very confident heading into this match especially with the return of the previously suspended Victor Radley. The 23-year-old forward is averaging 89 run metre, 30 tackles and 30 touches of the football per game this season. The Roosters will happily welcome him back into the starting line up as his link with halfback Sam Walker and his general ball-playing ability has been sorely missed.

The Bulldogs will welcome back four of the five players who missed last week’s fixture due to a forced COVID isolation period. This side requires a much needed spark as they try to force themselves off the bottom of the ladder. It’s going to be a tough task turning this ship around, but a result here against the Roosters could give Canterbury some much needed momentum. It’ll be tough to do this as the Roosters themselves are coming off a two game losing streak and they’ll be determined to get back in the winners circle and inching themselves closer to the top four.

On paper the Roosters still dominate this inexperienced Bulldogs side despite their Origin stars being absent. The Bulldogs forwards pack will have a busy day trying to contain the likes of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Siosiua Taukeiaho and Victor Radley.

KEY STAT

The two sides have a long history of playing each other and in fact the Sydney Roosters are the side the Bulldogs have confronted the most in their history, an incredible 186 times, 86 wins to the Bulldogs and 94 to the Roosters.

However, the Bulldogs have failed to defeat the Roosters in their last seven outings, daring all the way back to round two of 2017. Incredibly, the Bulldogs have only beat the Roosters twice in their last 13 outings. A record which Trent Barrett would love to turn around soon.

PREDICTION

Sydney Roosters will be too strong to overcome in this Saturday night fixture. Sydney Roosters by 18 points.

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