For the first time since 2009, all three Bulldogs sides (First Grade, NSW Cup & NYC) will play at the same ground, and along with the re-signings of Josh Morris and James Graham this week, the Bulldogs are confident they can secure another two points. Hear from the new re-signing and skipper Michael Ennis to get their thoughts on this weekend's game.
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs head to Penrith this Saturday afternoon, with both sides looking for their second win of the season.
For the first time since 2009, all three Bulldogs sides (First Grade, NSW Cup & NYC) will play at the same ground, and along with the re-signings of Josh Morris and James Graham this week, the Bulldogs are confident they can secure another two points.
The Dogs played a near flawless 80 minute match against Cronulla last Monday night, recording an impressive 42-4 win. Halfback Trent Hodkinson was named man of the match, scoring a career high 18 points that included a try, three try assists and seven goals from seven attempts.
Scoring seven tries is always a great sign, but in the current game, coaches worry more about their completion rates and defence. Canterbury completed 84% of their sets, which is the best result since Des Hasler arrived at Belmore back in 2012. Cronulla had their opportunities, but from the 254 tackles the Bulldogs made, they only missed six.
“We missed the start against Brisbane, but our final 50 minutes was reasonably good we just didn’t capitalize when we should have. Where as Monday night we took our chances, we stayed in the contest for 80 minutes and stayed focused,” said captain Michael Ennis.
After recruiting some high profile stars in the off-season, Penrith have enjoyed a great start to the year, destroying Newcastle 30-8 in Round 1 before going down by one point (18-17) to four-time premiership winners Melbourne Storm last Saturday.
Head of Football at Penrith, Phil ‘Gus’ Gould was extremely active with off-season recruitment, securing the services of Jamal Idris (Titans), Tyrone Peachey (Sharks), Jamie Soward (Dragons) and Peter Wallace (Broncos). The balance between youth and experience seems to be working wonders for coach Ivan Cleary, and they’ll be looking to continue their strong form.
2010 Premiership winning five-eighth, Jamie Soward, returns after missing Round 2 through injury and will partner former NSW Origin halfback Peter Wallace in the halves. Leading the competition in kick metres, Wallace has made a total of 24 kicks in his two games this season, going for a whopping 692 metres.
Penrith will have to stop the go-forward of the Bulldogs if they are a chance of winning this Saturday. On Monday night against Cronulla, 12 out of 17 players ran for 100m or more, including an impressive 200m individual effort from England International James Graham.
The Panthers have a relatively good record against the Dogs, winning three of their last five matches against them. However, in the last two years, the Bulldogs have played Penrith twice, and won on both occasions. Last year it was 34-14 in favour of Canterbury, blowing Penrith away 22-0 in the second half to end Penrith’s finals hopes.
Even with a recently strong record in the last two years, Bulldogs lock Dale Finucane isn’t taking the ‘mountain men’ lightly.
“I think they’re one team that’s flying under the radar a bit. They’re one from two but they’ll be really tough to beat on Saturday. For us it’s about focusing on ourselves.
“Against the sharks we found more consistency, with our completions, I think that’s what really the game comes down to is completing your sets, so you’ve got more gas in the tank for your attack,” said Finucane.
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