2 days ago
Bulldogs v Warriors preview
Warriors look to keep top four hopes alive in danger game against Bulldogs.
Motivation won't be hard to come by for Dean Pay's men as they desperately try to avoid claiming the club's first wooden spoon since 2008.
Big wins for the Eels and Cowboys have placed Canterbury under immediate threat of ‘winning' the dreaded piece of cutlery, only weeks after they seemed to be turning the corner following back-to-back victories over the Wests Tigers and Broncos.
However, without five-eighth Lachlan Lewis, the Bulldogs struggled in attack last week against Manly, falling to a 18-6 defeat. In fact, in the 60 minutes after Reimis Smith crossed over out wide, Canterbury didn't even look like scoring.
With a tough run home, including games against the desperate Dragons and Sharks to come, the Bulldogs are at serious risk of finishing in last position. It makes this week's game all the more important. Canterbury have won six of their past eight against the Warriors though and will need to rely on their defence getting them home on Sunday afternoon given they are the worst attacking side in the competition.
Meanwhile, Stephen Kearney's men have won two on the trot after their own top eight chances were questioned following an embarrassing loss to the Gold Coast. That defeat seems an anomaly now for a side that has won seven of their 11 games away from Mt Smart Stadium this year.
The Warriors have always had the potential in attack but their attitude without the ball has consistently held them back from breaking their September drought. However, their last two victories have seen them score 34 points in total. It hasn't been attack that has seen them collect four valuable competition points. Rather, they built both the wins off determined defensive efforts, having only conceded 16 points in both games combined.
It doesn't bode well for the Bulldogs, whose only real threat to the Warriors this week is their grit without the ball.
Last meeting: Round 16 2017 - Warriors 21 Bulldogs 14
Who to watch: The battle of the fullbacks is an interesting one this week. You really have to admire Will Hopoate's loyalty to the struggling Bulldogs. Hopoate is one of their greatest attacking threats and clearly has the ability to be one of the competition's best ball-playing fullbacks. Unfortunately, he hasn't had many chances to prove himself in a team that has struggled to find any fluency in attack all year.
This week, he comes up against one of the competition's most exciting number ones in Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. The New Zealand international's fancy footwork was on full display last week when he constantly bamboozled the Newcastle defence. While Canterbury are usually a strong defensive outfit, they lack mobility up front and Tuivasa-Sheck will look to take advantage of this if he finds space in the middle of the park.
The favourite: The Warriors are well backed to take this one out.
My tip: You don't really know what to expect from the Warriors, but given their recent efforts in defence, they shouldn't have much trouble in getting past the Bulldogs. Warriors by 20.
1. William Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Reimis Smith 6. Lachlan Lewis 20. Matt Frawley 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. David Klemmer 11. Josh Jackson 12. Rhyse Martin 13. Adam Elliot 7. Jeremy Marshall-King 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Ofahiki Ogden 17. Greg Eastwood
1. Roger Tuivasa-sheck 2. David Fusitua 3. Gerard Beale 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Blake Green 7. Shaun Johnson 8. James Gavet 9. Issac Luke 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Isaiah Papalii 12. Adam Blair 13. Simon Mannering 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Leivaha Pulu 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Peta Hiku
Referees: Jon Stone, Gavin Badger; Sideline Officials: Chris Sutton, Rickey McFarlane; Video Referees: Ben Cummins, Luke Patten;