Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Sydney Roosters: Lineups, preview and prediction
ANZ Stadium, Thursday 19th April, 7.50pm AEST.
The beleaguered Bulldogs enter Round 7 in desperate need of two competition points while the Roosters will also be desperate to turnaround their mixed fortunes and get on the right path with a win.
Pre-season favourites to win the title, the Roosters are slumped in sixth place after six weeks of the league season and anything short of a win in prime time against the dismal Dogs will be a disappointment for Trent Robinson and his troops.
First-year head coach Dean Pay has had a difficult start to life as the Bulldogs boss and a win at home against the Roosters would do wonders for confidence around Belmore.
2018 – Round 2 – Sydney Roosters 30 def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12 at Allianz Stadium
2017 – Round 11 – Sydney Roosters 24 def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 18 at ANZ Stadium
2017 – Round 2 – Sydney Roosters 28 def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs24 at Allianz Stadium
2016 – Round 17 – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24 def. Sydney Roosters 20 at Allianz Stadium
2016 – Round 11 – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 32 def. Sydney Roosters 20 at ANZ Stadium
The Roosters hold a significant edge over the Bulldogs in recent years, winning seven of their last nine clashes with the boys from Belmore and the last three in a row.
The Bulldogs haven't beaten the Roosters since June 2016 when they banked a 24-20 win at Allianz Stadium courtesy of a Brett Morris double and a rare try to big Josh Jackson.
Interestingly, these two first met in May 1935 when the Bulldogs entered the competition. On that day, the Roosters snuck home in a tight contest, winning 87-7 thanks to a five-try effort from the great Dave Brown who also nabbed 15 goals in a handy individual display.
I imagine this week's contest will be a little closer.
|Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs||Sydney Roosters|
|1||Moses Mbye||James Tedesco|
|2||Brett Morris||Joseph Manu|
|3||Josh Morris||Latrell Mitchell|
|4||Will Hopoate||Mitch Aubusson|
|5||Marcelo Montoya||Blake Ferguson|
|6||Jeremy Marshall-King||Luke Keary|
|7||Kieran Foran||Cooper Cronk|
|8||Aaron Woods||Zane Tetevano|
|9||Michael Lichaa||Jake Friend|
|10||David Klemmer||Dylan Napa|
|11||Josh Jackson||Boyd Cordner|
|12||Raymond Faitala-Mariner||Ryan Matterson|
|13||Adam Elliott||Isaac Liu|
|14||Asipeli Fine||Jared Waerea-Hargreaves|
|15||Danny Fualalo||Frank-Paul Nu'uausala|
|16||Greg Eastwood||Nat Butcher|
|17||Kerrod Holland||Victor Radley|
|19/18||Rhyse Martin||Sitili Tupouniua|
|21/20||Matt Frawley||Kurt Baptiste|
The facts that matter
Canterbury probably put together their best 80 minutes of the season in last week's 27-10 win over the Cowboys in North Queensland and they'll be keen to maintain that good form with a win at home against a long-time rival.
In pure tries, the game was only three tries to two but the boot of fullback Moses Mbye proved a significant difference as the Dogs ran out comfortable winners against a Cowboys side now anchored amongst the nether-reaches of the competition ladder.
When these sides met earlier this year, the Round 2 result was a comfortable win for the Roosters and built on the back of strong efforts from Latrell Mitchell who was a headache all night for the Bulldog's right-edge defence.
That right-side defence has been an achilles heel for the Bulldogs all season, having conceded more tries down that flank than any team in the competition over the first six weeks of the season.
The Bulldogs will be without the ever-reliable Aiden Tolman for this week’s clash with the Roosters and a few more weeks beyond that. The veteran prop is out with an ankle injury til Round 11.
It's not quite panic stations round Bondi way at the moment, but a shock last-start loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs has left the Roosters down in sixth position on the ladder and in desperate need of some consistent form.
Touted as early premiership favourites, there are more questions than answers surrounding the Roosters at this stage of the season and Trent Robinson will be expected to come with answers sooner rather than later.
The loss to the Bunnies exposed a pretty soft underbelly to the Roosters forward pack and will definitely have dinted the pride of a few established boppers who have previously prided themselves on winning the battles through the middle third.
With that in mind, the Roosters could either be brutally bashed through the ruck by in-form Bulldogs forwards like Raymond Faitala-Mariner and David Klemmer or they could bounce back and dominate through their own set of heavy-duty forwards.
Winger Reece Robinson feels the pinch of the Rooster's last-start loss, dropped from the side which sees Joseph Manu switch to the wing and Mitch Aubusson into the centres.
Zane Tetevano comes into the starting side at the expense of Jared Warea-Hargreaves who drops back to the bench alongside Frank-Paul Nu'uasala who is set to play his first NRL game for the Roosters in four years.
This could be a tough one to pick. On one hand, I feel like the Roosters could definitely bounce back big time from last week's loss, so a heavy defeat of the Bulldogs could make plenty of sense.
That said, the Roosters are yet to really click this year and the Bulldogs were impressive albeit against the Cowboys last week.
I've tossed a coin. Roosters 13+ came out as the winner.
Who will win this week's Thursday night blockbuster, the Dogs or the Chooks? Let us know in the comments and poll below.