Round 7 NRL Preview
Old rivalries will be renewed this Friday afternoon when the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs take on South Sydney at ANZ Stadium and Centre Josh Moriis explains why the Good Friday clash is a special occasion.
The annual Good Friday clash will see both teams put their winning streaks on the line. The Bulldogs have won three games straight, South Sydney their last two.
The Dogs were again victorious last week when they flew to Auckland to take on the Warriors. In desperate need of a win after the controversial exit of their coach Matt Elliot prior to game day, the Warriors contained the Bulldogs well.
Trailing 20-12 with 15 minutes remaining, Josh Reynolds laid on a great try to Tim Lafai in the corner to reduce the deficit to 2 points. Reynolds was lucky to earn himself a penalty with only five minutes to go and Hodkinson slotted the penalty goal to level the scores.
After nailing the killer blow to the Roosters the previous week, Reynolds handed field goal duties back to regular kicker Hodkinson and he didn’t disappoint. With 2 minutes left on the clock, the halfback easily kicked a field goal to win the match 21-20.
“There’s definitely belief there and even when we’re down we think we still have the points in us to win the game. To win by one point the last two weeks, definitely shows that,” said Josh Morris on last weeks one point win.
South Sydney had it much easier against Penrith last Friday night, winning 18-2 in a rain-affected game at Centrebet Stadium. Surprisingly, the bunnies didn’t miss a tackle for the first hour of football and also didn’t concede a try in the entire match.
Souths have now had wins against Penrith, Dragons and the Roosters, and sit in 7th place on the ladder with a points differential of +33. The Bulldogs tasted wins over Cronulla, Storm, Roosters & New Zealand and have the top points differential in the NRL with +60.
The Bulldogs boast the two players leading the Dally M Medal, Josh Reynolds on 10 points and Trent Hodkinson on 9. Hodkinson kicked 4 goals from 4 attempts against New Zealand last Sunday, and also kicked the winning field goal to take his total points tally to 59 (2nd overall in the NRL) and win Man of The Match honours.
Reynolds leads the competition for try assists with 8 from 6 games and ranks 2nd in the league for line-break assists with 8. Aiden Tolman continues to put out massive statistics in the front row, adding another 19 hit-ups last week to take his tally to 103 (1st in the NRL). Tolman made 190m from those runs and tackled 26 times as well.
The Bulldogs will be without monstrous co-captain Frank Pritchard this Friday, after he underwent surgery for a torn pectoral muscle. Pat O’Hanlon who’s played 5 games in 2014 will replace him in the 17. Pritchard will miss 4-6 months of the season but Tolman thinks the Dogs are capable of winning without him.
“He’s one of our leaders, he’s our co-captain so it’s definitely his leadership skills, he’s a quality players, he’s an international. He’s going to leave a big hole but someone needs to stand up and take his place,” said Tolman.
English International George Burgess and Queensland Origin representative Ben Te’o copped one-week suspensions and will miss the Good Friday clash.
The last time these two sides met was in Round 24, 2013. The Rabbitohs were 28-20 victors that night, but the Bulldogs were minus Ben Barba, David Klemmer, Greg Eastwood and Sam Kasiano.
The Dogs have recently had a good record against Souths, winning 5 of their last 9 games. However since South Sydney’s resurgence as a top four team, they have won 3 of the last 5 matches against the Dogs.
Head To Head
Played 147, Canterbury-Bankstown 77, South Sydney 66, Drawn 4
At ANZ Stadium
Played 17, Canterbury-Bankstown 12, South Sydney 5
Words: Jack Novak
WIN THIS EASTER LONG WEEKEND WTH ANZ STADIUM’S NEW APP
SHOW your true colours and win this Easter long weekend with ANZ Stadium’s new app – available now and for free in your app store.
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All tickets include return travel on public transport.
With the match coinciding with the Royal Easter Show’s busiest days, footy fans are urged to leave the car at home and take advantage of the additional public transport services in operation.