Thu, May 2, 10:01am by Rob Sheeley
Match: Canterbury Bulldogs vs Wests Tigers (NRL Round 8)
When/Where: 7:35pm Friday, 3 May 2013 at ANZ Stadium
AG Recommended NRL Bookie: www.Centrebet.com
The Bulldogs managed to put aside rumour and speculation and claw their way off the bottom of the ladder last weekend with a win over the Sharks. No one had predicted they’d be there after six rounds and bookmakers still give last year’s grand finalists a good chance of winning the premiership at just $15.
They will be expecting to win again this week and continue their journey back towards the upper half of the ladder. It will be a good test for the struggling Bulldogs who are desperate for competition points.
The Tigers injury list could well be larger than the actual playing squad after last weekend’s match. Coach Mick Potter would have been tearing his hair out as his players fell like flies against the Broncos. At one stage, the Tigers could not even field the full complement of thirteen players.
It will be a week of patch up work and regrouping as they look to field the best team they possibly can. They can at least take some solace in the fact that flying winger Marika Koroibete will return for this clash. The Tigers are $101 to win this year’s premiership and don’t look like shortening up anytime soon.
All of the Canterbury v. Wests odds listed below are based on Thursday morning at Centrebet.com.
Head to Head Bets
Bulldogs – $1.17
Tigers – $5.25
Bulldogs 1-12 – $3.20
Bulldogs 13+ – $1.72
Tigers 1-12 – $6.50
Tigers 13+ – $
Bulldogs -14.5 – $1.91
Tigers +14.5 – $1.91
• Bulldogs have won 4 of their last 5 against the Tigers.
• The sides have met 24 times. Bulldogs have won 15, Tigers have won 9.
• Bulldogs have won 11 of their last 14 at ANZ Stadium.
• Tigers have lost 5 of their last 6 at ANZ Stadium.
The Bulldogs welcome back international prop forward James Graham from his suspension this week. As a result, Tim Browne moves back to eighteenth man on an extended bench.
1. Ben Barba
2. Mitch Brown
3. Josh Morris
4. Tim Lafai
5. Sam Perrett
6. Josh Reynolds
7. Trent Hodkinson
8. Aiden Tolman
9. Michael Ennis (c)
10. Martin Taupau
11. Tony Williams
12. Frank Pritchard
13. Greg Eastwood
14. Dene Halatau
15. Josh Jackson
16. James Graham
17. Dale Finucane
18. Tim Browne
The Bulldogs made a much awaited return to the winners list last weekend with a 24-8 victory over the Sharks. Things were becoming desperate for the blue and whites prior to that. They now boast a record of two wins and five losses.
Up until last week, the Bulldogs had probably been the biggest surprise so far this season and not for the right reason. After six competition rounds, they were last on the table. They had managed just one solitary win and five losses.
In Round 6, the Bulldogs were given a chance to beat the Roosters in what was being billed as a block buster. The result was anything but that for Bulldogs fans. The Roosters delivered the Bulldogs a 38-0 flogging. They looked out of sorts and nowhere near the standard they need to be to be a top eight prospect.
Round 5 wasn’t much better for the Canterbury Bankstown team. They were again out played, this time by the Sea Eagles. They looked unable to compete, particularly up front and eventually lost by fourteen points (20-16).
Their losses in Round 3 and 4 at the hands of Melbourne and South Sydney respectively were much better. They remained right in the contest on both occasions.
Des Hasler will be hoping his team can build on the positives they gained from last weekend’s win and start making it more commonplace.
The Tigers have been forced to make quite a few changes this week. Jacob Miller comes back into the side at half back. /they also have a new centre pairing of Joel Reddy and Bodene Thompson.
Marika Koroibete makes his long awaited return on the wing. Liam Fulton has been promoted to the starting lineup with Tim Simona coming onto the bench. Ava Seumanufagai has been named as the eighteenth man.
1. James Tedesco
2. Marika Koroibete
3. Joel Reddy
4. Bodene Thompson
5. Matt Utai
6. Curtis Sironen
7. Jacob Miller
8. Aaron Woods
9. Robbie Farah (c)
10. Jack Buchanan
11. Liam Fulton
12. Adam Blair
13. Shaun Spence
14. Ben Murdoch-Masila
15. Eddy Pettybourne
16. Suaso Sue
17. Tim Simona
18. Ava Seumanufagai
The Tigers are coming off four losses in a row and will be desperate to change that pattern in Round 8. They have been dealt a cruel blow for this weekend via a litany of injuries.
During last weekend’s match, the Tigers players were literally dropping like flies. At one stage they were reduced to just twelve men. They still managed to fight hard and were far from disgraced in a ten point loss (20-10).
In Round 6, the Tigers came oh so close to notching their third victory for 2013. After trailing by twelve points at half time to the Dragons, the Tigers fought back to level the scores, only to be denied by a Jamie Soward field goal.
In Round 5, the Tigers looked like they were about to pull off the upset of the season. They led the Melbourne Storm deep into the second half after executing a game plan to slow down the speed of the rucks superbly. The Storm managed to find form in the last ten minutes to blow the Tigers away, but not without a scare.
The Tigers were held scoreless in Round 4 by Manly and allowed twenty six points to be scored against them. Their last win came in Round 3 against the Parramatta Eels 31-18.
They face an under achieving Bulldogs side in this match and will see it as a big opportunity despite the number of players they will be missing.
The key for the Tigers in this match has been well documented through the week; injuries. The depth of the Wests club will be stretched to the extreme this week as they cover for a plethora of injuries.
In their favour the Tigers do have their star winger Marika Koroibete returning, which should be a boost. The other positive is first grade experience for a few fledgling players.
For the Tigers, Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah will need to be everywhere. They are two players who have the ability to lead from the front which may just convince their less experienced counterparts to buy into what they are trying to do.
Jacob Miller had a taste of top grade football early in the season before losing his spot in the side. He will relish a second opportunity here and may well surprise a few now that he knows what it is all about.
The Bulldogs pack will be boosted by the return of English international James Graham. Their pack has lacked that hard edge so far in 2013 and a player of Graham’s ilk could make all the difference.
The confidence that the Bulldogs will have gained after a long awaited win may also assist them in this match. The faith in each other to execute the big plays can make all the difference.
For the Bulldogs, Josh Reynolds and Ben Barba have a great opportunity against their less credentialed opposition. They should be able to weave some magic on the back of the platform laid by their forwards.
The clash of Michael Ennis and Robbie Farah will be engrossing. They both have a real competitive edge and despise giving an inch to their opposite number.
Injuries look to have taken a massive toll on the Tigers. The Bulldogs should be able to get the job done with their new found confidence and bolstered forward pack.
Bulldogs by 10
The Bulldogs 1-12 is $3.20 with Centrebet, which is great value based on the prediction.
Josh Morris is paying $11 to score the first try of the matchand that is an alluring price.
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