Matt Pritchard previews the traditional Good Friday clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
South Sydney Rabbitohs Vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Venue: Accor Stadium
Date: Friday, April 15 2021, 4pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Rabbitohs: 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Alex Johnston 3. Taane Milne 4. Campbell Graham 5. Josh Mansour 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Hame Sele 15. Jacob Host 16. Davvy Moale 17. Liam Knight 18. Siliva Havili 19. Isaiah Tass 20. Peter Mamouzelos 21. Richard Kennar 22. Dean Hawkins 23. Terrell Kalo Kalo 24. Jaxson Paulo.
The major news out of the Rabbitohs 24-12 win over the Dragons was the injury to Latrell Mitchell who is looking at an extended time off the field. Blake Taaffe is set to start at fullback in only his second appearance of the season. Siliva Havili joins the squad as the 18th man with Hame Sele moving into the seventeen.Embed from Getty Images
Bulldogs: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Brent Naden 3. Braidon Burns 4. Jake Averillo 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Luke Thompson 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Corey Waddell 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Josh Jackson 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Chris Patolo 16. Max King 17. Joe Stimson 19. Bailey Biondi-Odo 20. Aaron Schoupp 21. Reece Hoffman 22. Jackson Topine 23. Ava Seumanufagai 24. Josh Cook 25. Corey Allan
The Bulldogs remain unchanged starting line-up from their loss to the Penrith Panthers on Sunday night with Kyle Flanagan retaining his halfback role after a good performance against the defending champs. They have remained win-less since their round 1 win against the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.
Referee: Gerard Sutton
Good Friday has seen some good, and infamous clashes between the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs. The 2014 game was decided at the death by Trent Hodkinson and in a late penalty goal to the Rabbitohs in 2015 gave them victory 18-17.
South Sydney have won the last three Good Friday games and deserve favouritism.
Latrell Mitchell being sidelined is a huge blow for the side given his capability to win games.
One matchwinner who’s been very quiet is Cody Walker who hasn’t been up to his 2021 standard. One-fifth of the way into the season and Walker has yet to get one try assist to his name after recording 33 last year. Is he missing the presence of Adam Reynolds that much, or is there something else at play?
The Bulldogs have showed improvement and despite going down 32-12, there were enough opportunities created but basic fundamentals around handling and structure can’t be ignored.
Matt Dufty has plenty to prove after his lack of involvement in attack and error rate against the Panthers. This is a critical period for Dufty who’s at the Bulldogs for 2022. He has exceptional talent but needs to get it all together.
Can the Bulldogs pull an upset? Perhaps, but it’s Kyle Flanagan and Matt Burton who need to click for Dufty and Braidon Burns to use their skill.
If Walker is quiet on the South Sydney front, Josh Addo-Carr is five games through the season without a single try to his name after scoring 23 tries in 22 games for the Storm last season. Surely his time is coming, and “The Fox” can add to his 102 try tally in the competition.
This could be a real toss-up given the Rabbitohs have the second worst completion rate in the NRL at 70%, with the Bulldogs slightly better at 73%; and the Rabbitohs making the second most errors on 68, with the Bulldogs having made 60.
The team making the least errors comes away with the points.Embed from Getty Images
It’s been slim pickings for the Bulldogs on Good Friday having won three of their nine matches against the Rabbitohs. In their last two Good Friday outings, they’ve only managed six points and conceded 52. The ray of hope may be their 100-4 deficit when playing the Penrith Panthers in their three past games before last week, only to go down 32-12. Might suggest an improved effort is coming in this traditional clash.
Rabbitohs by 8.
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