Fri 17 March 2017
Forsyth Barr Stadium - Crowd: 10238

Struggling 'Dogs keen to show wares across the Tasman.

Injuries have cruelled both sides coming into this one - the Bulldogs will be missing Will Hopoate and Kerrod Holland after they failed to complete the 80 minutes in last week's loss to the Roosters. The four point defeat was compounded when scans confirmed both players are set to miss four to six weeks.

The Warriors have been relatively lucky up until mid-week, the omission of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at fullback a huge blow ahead of the Dunedin clash. Manu Vatuvei is named on the wing for the first time this season with Tuimoala Lolohea in at half.

Form wise Canterbury are 0-2 coming into this one, despite spirited showings against heavyweights Melbourne and the Roosters, while the Warriors are 1-1 after downing the Knights and giving Melbourne a run for their money before losing by 16.

This will be the first time the NRL has made it's way to Dunedin for competition points - and for the Bulldogs and Warriors one of many times the former has taken a home game against their Trans-Tasman rivals to the land of the long white cloud. Most recently Canterbury hosted the Warriors at Westpac Stadium in Wellington last year.

Last meeting: Round 7 2016 - Bulldogs 20 Warriors 24

The Warriors won the only clash between these sides last season, winners by four after holding out a late surge by the 'Dogs. It was the Warriors first win over the Bulldogs since 2011, and overall the Bulldogs are ahead on the head-to-head contests with 19 wins to the Warriors' 13.

Who to watch: Canterbury signed Brad Abbey from the Warriors in the off-season - and now he gets to make his club NRL debut against his former outfit! The livewire fullback has been listed to replace Will Hopoate and provides a new goalkicking option for a Bulldogs side that could certainly do with one after Moses Mbye's poor efforts last week. Abbey's form in the lower grades has been solid and he'll be keen to prove his worth after leaving the Warriors.

In the opposite custodian role, there's a heap of pressure on Tuimoala Lolohea. Bursting onto the NRL scene first through the 2014 Auckland Nines, Lolohea has been enigmatic since his competition debut later that year, the 22 year old finding himself in and out of the lineup. Initially named in the reserves for this match, 'Tui' earned a reprieve thanks to Tuivasa-Sheck's omission and will be keen to prove he's worth a spot in this Warriors squad.

The favourite: The Warriors hold court here, with parochial home-nation support expected.

My tip: Canterbury have been near enough in the last few weeks - but not good enough. That changes this week. The loss of RTS is too much for the Warriors to overcome. Bulldogs by 8.

1. Brad Abbey 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Greg Eastwood 13. David Klemmer 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Adam Elliot 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner

21. Tuimoala Lolohea 2. Ken Maumalo 3. David Fusitua 4. Solomone Kata 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Mafoa'aeata Hingano 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Albert Vete 9. Issac Luke 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering 14. Erin Clark 15. Sam Lisone 16. Charlie Gubb 17. Bunty Afoa

Referees: Gavin Badger, Jon Stone; Sideline Officials: Tim Roby, Anthony Elliott; Video Referees: Luke Patten, Steve Chiddy;