South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Lineups, preview & prediction

ANZ Stadium, Friday 30th March, 4.10pm AEDT.

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Overview

As Darryl Brohman once said on 2GB’s Continuous Call Team, football on Good Friday is good, and there should be more of it. 

Thankfully, we’re treating to two great match-ups on a public holiday this season meaning there should be a bumper crowd at both ANZ Stadium for this clash and Southern Cross Group Stadium when the Sharks host the Storm later in the evening.

The Bulldogs enter round four coming off their first win of the season courtesy of a strong performance at home against the Panthers and while they’re the away side this week; they do have the benefit of playing in the same ground, the former Olympic cauldron circa Sydney 2000.

Moses Mbye was a one-man band last week for the Bulldogs, stacking up good numbers as he settled further into his role at fullback while the Bunnies proved far too strong for the Sea Eagles, posting a comfortable 34-6 win on home soil.

Both sides come into this clash with a win and given the strong rivalry between them, sit back and enjoy an entertaining 80 minutes of action.

Recent meetings

2017 – Round 23 – South Sydney 28 def. Canterbury-Bankstown 14 at ANZ Stadium

2017 – Round 7 – Canterbury-Bankstown 24 def. South Sydney 9 at ANZ Stadium

2016 – Round 26 – South Sydney 28 def. Canterbury-Bankstown 10 at ANZ Stadium

2016 – Round 4 – Canterbury-Bankstown 42 def. South Sydney 12 at ANZ Stadium

2015 – Round 24 – Canterbury-Bankstown 32 def. South Sydney 18 at ANZ Stadium

As you would expect between two long-time foes, the form guide tends to go out the window when the Bunnies and the Bulldogs meet. Last year they shared a win apiece with the Dogs taking the first with a 24-9 at their shared home ground ANZ Stadium early in the year before the Bunnies took revenge with a 28-14 rout as the season wore down.

Overall, these two sides have met an incredible 171 times with the Bulldogs holding an 86-77 advantage with wins. There have been 8 draws since the two sides first met in April 1935. The Bunnies proved far too good that day, winning 37-9 as Frank Curran and Eric Lewis bagged doubles for the cardinal and myrtle green.

In more recent times, the Bunnies snatch the win last time they met courtesy of a double to Alex Johnston in front of much less than 10,000 people. Here’s hoping the Good Friday aspect sees a healthy crowd this time out.

Lineups

South Sydney Rabbitohs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
1 Alex Johnston Moses Mbye
2 Richie Kennar Brett Morris
3 Greg Inglis Josh Morris
4 Dane Gagai Will Hopoate
5 Robert Jennings Marcelo Montoya
6 Cody Walker Jeremy Marshall-King
7 Adam Doueihi Kieran Foran
8 Thomas Burgess Aaron Woods
9 Damien Cook Michael Lichaa
10 Sam Burgess David Klemmer
11 John Sutton Josh Jackson
12 Angus Crichton Raymond Faitala-Mariner
13 Cameron Murray Aiden Tolman
Interchange
14 Hymel Hunt Adam Elliott
15 Mark Nicholls Danny Fualalo
16 George Burgess Francis Tualau
17 Tevita Tatola Fa’amanu Brown
Reserves
18/19 Robbie Farah Renouf To’omaga
19/20 Jason Clark Kerrod Holland
20/21 Braidon Burns Asipeli Fine
21/23 Kyle Turner John Olive

The facts that matter

South Sydney Rabbitohs

While there was plenty of fanfare about the Bulldogs grabbing their first win of the 2018 NRL season, the Rabbitohs achieved that same feat in round three when they slaughtered the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 34-6 on home soil.

The Bunnies looked a decent, composed attacking unit with their usual, resolute defence and that will excite first-year head coach Anthony Seibold moving forward. Stand-in halfback Adam Doueihi certainly doesn’t have the skillset or high-profile of the man he replaces in Adam Reynolds but he put together a decent effort and looks solid enough to get the Bunnies through until Reynolds returns from injury.

In a big plus for the Rabbitohs, despite sitting on the wrong end of the ladder, they boast the second-best attacking statistics amongst the bottom eight sides, which is a testament to their fringe strength, in particular, centres Dane Gagai and Greg Inglis who are probably the deadliest pairing in the league at that position.

While Gagai and Inglis are yet to really light things up, the potential for things to go very well is mouth-watering for the old Bunnies faithful.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

The Dogs also grabbed their first win of the 2018 season with a hard-fought 20-18 win over the previously undefeated Penrith Panthers and although that win came after the Panthers lost star halfback Nathan Cleary, there’s no diluting that winning feeling at Belmore.

Another first-year head coach, Dean Pay will be delighted to have got the monkey off his back with that win and will now focus on the immediate task of tackling the Rabbitohs and the more mid-to-long term plan of rebuilding the battered and beleaguered Bulldogs.

Moses Mbye has been in sensational form since his switch to fullback this season. His kick returns have been amongst the most potent and dangerous in the league and his work in and around the tired forward packs in the middle is going to prove a key weapon for the Bulldogs all season long.

The Bulldogs are, as you would expect, unchanged from last week. Jeremy Marshall-King stays in the number six jersey outside Kieran Foran and will be better for a full 80-minute effort last week.





Prediction

Can I toss a coin?

The Dogs were impressive early on against the Panthers but did let the notorious fast-finishers back in late while the Bunnies looked a little more polished and consistent with ball in hand against the Sea Eagles. I’ll take the ‘home side’ by a narrow 8-point margin.

Who will have a really good Good Friday, the Bulldogs or the Rabbitohs? Let us know in the comments below.

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