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2:00pm Sun July 28, 2019
Round 19 - Stadium Australia - Crowd: 10586

Round 19: Bulldogs v Roosters preview

Bulldogs look to pull off upset of the season against rejuvenated Roosters

Stranger things have happened, but the lowly Bulldogs toppling the Roosters on Sunday afternoon would certainly raise question marks.

After a brief patch of form including upset wins over the Sharks and Knights, Canterbury fell back to their normal ways last week in a 28-6 loss to Brisbane.

Fortunately for them the Gold Coast are in a world of pain both on and off the field. Otherwise they would be almost certainly destined for a last-place finish in 2019.

They are boosted by the returns of Aidan Tolman and Lachlan Lewis from injury though while Kieran Foran is also a chance of making a comeback from the sidelines after being named in the reserves.

It would be a timely boost for the Bulldogs, with Foran showing glimpses of his best in the short period he has stayed on the field this year.

In fact, Foran already had two try-assists to his name in the 25 minutes he played against Cronulla before limping off.

But rumours about his future at the Bulldogs will certainly prove an unwelcome distraction for the five-eighth.

Like Newcastle, Canterbury made a positive start in their last meeting with the Roosters before being blown off the park in the second half.

The Tricolours have timed their run to perfection.

Like a well-oiled machine, they are able to change gears when needed and that was made clear last week when they ran in seven second-half tries to demolish Newcastle.

After only recently returning from injury Jake Friend will once more spend an extended period on the sideline with Victor Radley reverting back to hooker.

Joseph Manu is back this week though after being rested by coach Trent Robinson.

After such a comfortable win last week, Robinson will be focussed on ensuring complacency doesn't creep in against the struggling Bulldogs.

Last meeting: Round 14 2019 - Roosters 38 Bulldogs 12

Who to watch: Against one of the best defensive outfits in the competition, the Bulldogs will need the game-breaking ability of fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to be any hope of victory on Sunday. In his first game in Bulldogs colours, which happened to be against the Roosters, Watene-Zelezniak ran for 176 metres from just 52 minutes before being forced off with a head knock. The former Panther runs hard and fast and will be crucial in helping the Bulldogs start their sets off with momentum.

For the Roosters, it is perfect timing that Joseph Manu returns this week to take on the Bulldogs after singe-handily destroying them in their Round 14 clash. With James Tedesco out, Manu starred in his absence, running for 299 metres, scoring two tries and busting 10 tackles. While he returns to the centres this week, he will still pose a massive threat if given the ball in space.

The favourite: The Roosters. Obviously.

My tip: While the Bulldogs have claimed some big scalps recently they won't be doing it against a Roosters side on the rise. Roosters by 20.