NRL Preview: Bulldogs v Knights
Sunday 15 September 2013 8:45 AM
The Bulldogs head into week one of the final’s with a loss, after going down to the Brisbane Broncos. Although it was a loss, there were plenty of positives to come from the game. Ben Barba and Sam Kasiano both made successful returns from injury and the side’s ability to defend their line time and time again is a great sign heading into finals footy, because this is what will win you games at this time of the year.
They take on the Knights who have defeated them twice this year and on both occasions you would have to say the Dogs were well off their game.
It’s a new competition and the results from the past 26 rounds mean nothing once finals time comes around.
“Both times we have played the Knights, we have been off our game…it’s a matter of sticking to what the coaches plan for us this week,” said Interchange forward Dene Halatau.
The Knights have plenty of strike across the park and two players in particular who have really stood up in recent weeks are their halves, Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts. Both possess great passing games, great running games and for Jarrod in particular, one of the best, kicking games in the NRL. These two guys will certainly be leading their side around on the weekend and the Dogs know if they can take away the effectiveness of these two players it can certainly holt the Knights attack.
“They have been outstanding…they both have great kicking games, great passing game and will run the footy,” said Half-back Trent Hodkinson.
The middle third of the field will be a great contest. Both sides have quality forward packs and plenty of big men who can certainly do some damage.
For Bulldogs forward James Graham it’s an area they need to be good at, while also relishing the challenge which lies ahead.
“The middle of the field for us is going to be really important…we need to be switched on defensively,” said Graham.
It can be very easy for the Dogs to get caught up and worry about what the Knights are going to do, but for the 17 players who take the field on Sunday, it will be about worrying about themselves and worrying about what they have to do both individually and collectively as a team to get the result they will be chasing.
“We have to worry about ourselves, hold onto the footy, complete our sets and grind them out of the game,” said Hoskinson.
What an opportunity the Dogs have this weekend. A home semi-final, Sunday afternoon footy and an occasion they should all cherish because there is no tomorrow and if the players want to experience something special, than a win on Sunday will take the boys one step closer.
Dogs by 10