Fri, Aug 15, 10:19am by Rob Sheeley
THE Canterbury Bulldogs will be eager to arrest their competition free fall this Friday night when they take on long-time sparring partners, the Parramatta Eels.
It’s a rivalry that peaked in the 1980’s with the teams going head-to-head in both the 1984 and 1986 grand finals, the latter of which remains the only try-less grand final in the game’s history.
In 2014, both face similar predicaments to each other but have achieved their current equations in very different manners.
The Eels sit in ninth on the back of three impressive wins in a row and look to be a team building momentum.
The Bulldogs are in a downward spiral and are clinging onto eighth place after losing four straight and they have gone from premiership contenders to possible also-rans.
Betting in the head-to-head market is dead set level for this match, with punters still reluctant to admit that either the Bulldogs poor form is permanent or that the Eels are the real deal.
AustralianGambling will concentrate on the handicap or line betting market for this match. With betting being even in the head-to-head, the tiny margin of +/- 1.5 has been set, with the odds lop-sided as a result.
Eels (-1.5) – $2.00
Bulldogs (+1.5) – $1.83
The Eels have carved out an entertaining triple treat of wins in the past three weeks, largely on the back of the stellar form of their star custodian Jarryd Hayne.
Last week they travelled to Darwin and were locked up in an arm wrestle with the Canberra Raiders before accelerating away in the final ten minutes to win 18-10.
The week before they methodically disposed of the lowly placed Cronulla Sharks 32-12 in a polished display. The first of their three wins was a 24-18 away victory over the Gold Coast Titans.
There is little evidence to suggest that they can not continue the run in this match, they are a team high on confidence and playing for a top eight position. The Eels beat the Bulldogs 22-12 back in Round 14 and are capable of repeating the dose in this encounter.
The Bulldogs have gone downhill fast in the last month, it is an effort that the great Alberto Tomba would be proud of.
Four straight losses, most of which were games they were expected to win, sees them on the precipice of post-season wilderness.
Last week they were totally outclassed by the Brisbane Broncos in a 41-10 defeat that also saw their State of Origin five eighth Josh Reynolds suspended. Prior to that went down to the Penrith Panthers, North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers.
It is going to be a mammoth effort for the Bulldogs to turn it all around, this is D-Day for them.
It is impossible to tip against a form side when their opposition is horribly out of touch.
There is no doubting that the Bulldogs have the talent, but their efforts over the past month have been sub-standard.
The Eels have done all the hard work and now get their crack at the top-eight and beyond if they can salute in this.
With the line set at just 1.5 points it is only a matter of them winning by one conversion to secure the handicap victory. They should be able to do that.
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