Full Time
7:35pm Sat July 10, 2021
Round 17 - CommBank Stadium, Parramatta / Burramattagal

Round 17: Canterbury v Sydney preview

The Canterbury Bulldogs host the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night, at what looks to be an empty Bankwest Stadium - with the Greater Sydney lockdown set to be extended (at the time of writing). 

The Bulldogs had a week to forget last round, losing 66-nil to Manly (and it could easily have been 100), where the worryingly-poor management of the team came to the fore. Players involved in the COVID-19 breach (with the exception of the young man Schoupp) have been selected in first grade every week, regardless of  (poor) form and/or (poor) attitude, and the arrogance shown in their night out is there for all to see. Add to that the club being fined for not reasonably ensuring the players complied with the biosecurity protocols - you reap what you sow. 

The Roosters had a terrible last game out too, falling 46-nil to the red-hot Melbourne Storm. It was 30-nil at half-time, in another high scoring, exciting match in PVL's new Rugby League world order. Absolutely on the edge of my seat for 80 minutes (not).

In team news, for the Bulldogs, despite talking about big taking a stand against the Covid breachers,  Schoupp, Waddell, Napa and Sione Katoa waltz straight back into the side, with only Brandon Wakeham missing out. Ofahiki Ogden and Renouf Atoni return via the bench. In terms of outs, hooker Jeremy Marshall-King  and bench foward Ava Seumanufagai are suspended, Matt Doorey is out with a head knock and Jackson Topine and Falakiko Manu have been dropped to the reserves. Former missing person Kyle Flanagan keeps his spot in the halves for the second week running.

For the Roosters, they welcome Victor Radley back from suspension with open arms. Angus Crichton and James Tedesco are out, as they have a dead rubber exhibition match to play next week. Billy Smith comes into the side at centre, pulling on an NRL jumper for the first time since 2019. Joey Manu takes up Tedesco's spot at fullback, Matt Ikuvalu comes back on the wing, with immortal Joseph Suaalii missing out. Nat Butcher and Ben Thomas come in on the bench to replace Fletcher Baker and Daniel Suluka-Fifita. Drew Hutchison starts five-eighth, bumping Lachlan Lam to the bench.

Last time they met - 13 months ago - in another empty stadium match at Bankwest, Easts ran out very comfortable 42-6 winners, in a match where the Bulldogs could easily have conceded double that.

Last meeting: Round 5 2020 - Bulldogs 6 Roosters 42

Who to watch: Not who. What - All I'll be watching is the scoreboard. The Bulldogs will have a cricket score put on them and it will be very much deserved for the team selected

The favourite: At the time of writing, the Roosters were paying $1.10. If you have a spare couple of million, you can win some pocket change.

My tip: Do we have to? Really? Sydney by 50.