Matt Attard previews the Magic Round opener between the Bulldogs and the Knights. Here’s what we have to look forward to...
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Vs Newcastle Knights
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Date: Friday May 13, 6:00pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Bulldogs: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Brent Naden 3. Jake Averillo 4. Aaron Schoupp 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. Bailey Biondi-Odo 15. Joe Stimson 16. Max King 17. Chris Patolo 19. Josh Cook 20. Jackson Topine 21. Brandon Wakeham 22. Jayden Okunbor 23. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 24. Paul Alamoti 25. Ava Seumanufagai
One change for the Bulldogs, with Chris Patolo coming onto the bench for Ava Seumanufagai.Embed from Getty Images
Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Tex Hoy 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Mitchell Barnett 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Leo Thompson 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Mathew Croker 18. Simi Sasagi 19. Sauaso Sue 20. Brayden Musgrove 21. Jaron Purcell 22. Krystian Mapapalangi 23. Kobe Rugless 24. Ben Talty
Mitchell Barnett and Adam Clune are named to return. Sauaso Sue has been included in the reserves after missing last week due to a head knock. Edrick Lee (head knock) needs to pass concussion protocols to play.
Referee: Peter Gough.
A battle of the cellar dwellers kicks off NRL Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium and fans of both teams are hoping magic is exactly what their team produces.
After some promising games this season, Trent Barrett’s Bulldogs have been underwhelming in attack to say the least.
Aside from being belted by Melbourne, and a dismal final 20 minutes against Brisbane, their defence has been admirable. But with ball in hand the Bulldogs, led by dangerous playmaker Matt Burton, have been nothing short of disappointing.
The same can be said for the Knights and superstar fullback Kalyn Ponga. They’ve managed just 20 points in their last three games, including two try-less games against Parramatta and Melbourne.
Both teams will be licking their lips when they look at their opponents, thinking “this is the week we can turn it around”. But whoever can hold the ball should do enough damage to win.
The Bulldogs spent the first 30 minutes of their last Friday’s game against the Raiders defending thanks to a magnitude of errors. It was the same story in their final 20 minutes against Brisbane: unable to hold the ball and mount any pressure. They’ve made 48 errors in their past four games.
Newcastle are even worse, making 51 errors in their last month of football, giving Ponga and the likes little chance to score points.
The Bulldogs have been a better defensive team, but not by much (conceding 205 points to the Knights’ 242). This game will come down to set completions. Toss a coin when entering your tips.Embed from Getty Images
The Bulldogs have the second worst win percentage at Suncorp Stadium, with a meagre 22 per cent win rate since 1998. Newcastle – on the other hand – have a decent win rate of 67 per cent.
Newcastle by two.
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