Fri, Mar 11, 6:54pm by Kevin Pitstock
In 2009 the Bulldogs were the rags to riches story of the year, from bottom dwellers in 2008 to top 4 finishes in the regular and finals season. 2010 Was almost the complete opposite and they will hope to turn that around this year with a couple of key signings in Trent Hodkinson from the Sea Eagles and Frank Pritchard from the Panthers.
Unlike the Bulldogs the Tigers gave the premieship a real shake up last year, they participated in one of the most amazing spectacles that will ever be witnessed against the Roosters in a 100 minute thriller, came back from that match to almost qualify for the Grand Final but were pipped at the finish against a white hot Dragons outfit. The Tigers have not had any real off season boosts and are playing with a very similar line up as last year.
This is the Match of the week with the odds being quite even, as well as their history, the Dogs have the edge with 11 wins and 9 losses. They have been tit for tat since 2007, if this trend is to continue it’s the Bulldogs that will be the victor.
Canterbury Bulldogs Preview
With the retirement of Brett Kimmorley the Dogs were in the hunt for a new half back. Seek and you shall find…. Trent Hodkinson. The Eagles would have been sorry to say goodbye to this promising youngster, he has not yet shown signs of being a truly great half back but he does have grit and determination. There were only a handful of matches that he played to his full potential last year and when he did the Eagles responded well to his ability. It will be interesting to see what 2009 coach of the year Kevin Moore can do to guide him and his team to Excellence. Frank Pritchard is another player who very rarely plays to his best ability. When Pritchard pulls his socks up it reminds me a lot of Sonny-Bill Williams, he has the ability to not only steam roll the opponents, but also to provide unbelievable off loads as well as great decoy running. If Idris is played outside Pritchard we could witness a lot of tries piling up on that side of the field.
Wests Tigers Preview
During the finals last year I had my fingers crossed they would beat the Dragons and make the Grand Final as they had played the Roosters 3 times in the season, and each match was better than the last. This was not to be, with injury playing a hand in the strength of their side, as well as the inability to hold on to the contest with the Dragons strangling them to the end. As I mentioned earlier there have been no off season signings that will have an impact, the only I can think of is stumpy winger Matt Utai. Utai was once a prolific try scorer for the team they are facing off against on Monday night, however there is a reason they let him go, he just doesn’t have the X factor any more. The left side attack for the Tigers in Lawrence and Tuqiri is a deadly combination, and with Benji Marshall Pulling the strings look at 3 or 4 tries scored on this side of the field. Marshall’s goal kicking was amongst the worst in the league last year (it was below 70% until he picked it up towards the end of the season) so he would want to make sure he sets up a few.
Prediction and Odds
The Tigers are slightly ahead at the bookies, with the best odds for the win coming from Sportingbet Australia at $1.75. The relatively unchanged line up for the Tigers means all the players are familiar with each other style to play. The Bulldogs are still in the teething process with their new half back so I can’t see them executing everything and will have a lower completion rate than the Tigers. This may be a tight game for a while, but the Tigers will have enough in the tank to take it home strong. Tigers are $2.45 for the half/full double and $2.35 to win by 7 or more.
Look at the Tigers for the half/full double, its paying good odds and I can’t see any other result. If you want more value for money Tigers by 7-12 looks good at $6.25 through Sportingbet Australia.
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