The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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In this week's Bulls Eye, Brian Noble and Joe Vagana look ahead to Friday's Tetley's Super League Round 18 clash at the New Shay when the Bulls take on Halifax.
Well they are bound to get someone sometime aren?t they? The reality is that we have to play really, really well because we can?t afford for it to be us. They have a great team spirit there and that is really evident. They don?t have a problem with going behind because they have done it all season. They may not have had the results but they have given every side they have played a really tough game and they are quite capable of turning things around. It is the classic underdog?s tale. It is a big Derby for them. The mentality of their fans is that they know they are having a tough time and struggling but if they can turn over Bradford, who are traditionally their biggest rivals, then the fans will have something to hang onto for this year. That is what the players will feel too and we must be at our best this week.
THERE WERE SIGNS AT WAKEFIELD THAT THE SIDE WERE GETTING BACK TO THEIR BEST.
I was delighted with some of the things we came up with at Wakefield. There was an element of anxiety about our play in the first half but we had lost a couple of games and they were probably trying too hard but in the second period we played some good flowing rugby and if a couple of decisions had gone our way the floodgates might have opened. But they didn?t and Wakefield played tough and that?s good because we are in for another tough game this week.
HALIFAX?S LEAGUE POSITION WILL NOT HAVE AN AFFECT ON THIS GAME.
It is going to be a tough game at Halifax and their league position will count for nothing in this one but I think it is a lot more about how we play. We have had a couple of bad losses over the last few weeks and we went some way to putting things right at Wakefield, so we will be looking to continue our improvement. We need to keep the momentum going.
Martin Moana is a big player for them and he is one we will have to watch out for but we have identified areas where we feel they are strong and we have trained well this week.
Bulls will be without both Stuart Fielden and Karl Pratt for the game against Halifax. Both received injuries in the game at Wakefield. Chris Bridge is added to the squad; Paul Anderson took a knock to his arm.
Bulls Squad: Pryce, Deacon, Reardon, Vaikona, Vagana, Vainikolo, Hape, Naylor, Lowes, Anderson, Peacock, Gartner, Radford, Parker, Forshaw, Bridge, Moore, Langley, Gilmour
LESLEY VAINIKOLO is the Bulls leading scorer this season with 14 tries.
MICHAEL WITHERS has scored 90 tries in just 106 appearances for the club.
PAUL DEACON has kicked 103 goals from 130 attempts in all games for the Bulls this season for an average of 79.23 %. He needs 6 points for a career total of 900.
LEE RADFORD has kicked 8 goals from 9 attempts this season for an average of 88.88%