Bulldogs v Wests Tigers
So it's been about seven weeks since we walked away from ANZ Stadium after watching the Wests Tigers pull the Bulldogs' proverbial pants down, and presumed the following:
One, that this current school of Tigers kids are in that special kind of class that not even the biggest kids in the NRL schoolyard could hold a candle to;
And two, that Bulldogs coach Des Hasler was going to reach a whole new level of madness that would ensure his side would never plummet to the same lows again this season.
As it turns out – and this is why they don't pay us rugby league hacks the big bucks – neither of those came true.
Since that fateful Sunday, when we all predicted the Tigers' band of youngsters would catapult the under-achieving club into September, they were actually the ones that crashed and burned. A run of four straight flops on the trot – including the past three by a combined 124 points – has them just about off the invite list in September.
Their messy off-field woes – they're still without a full board yet – has them teetering on the edge of irrelevancy as far as the business end of 2014 is concerned.
The Bulldogs? Well, the embarrassment hurt them deeper than we thought. Hasler's men fumbled their way to another three losses before escaping away with a win over the Eels last Friday night on a technicality.
But they did it without suspended Origin five-eighth Josh Reynolds, which counts for something. Impressive young Bulldogs prop Lloyd Perrett is out with an ankle issue, meaning either Pat O'Hanlon or Harlan Alaalatoa will instead take over his handful of minutes off the bench.
It does need to be mentioned that the Tigers have suffered through all of this with a rehab group longer than the ten metres of tape Aaron Woods uses to keep his hair off his face. The list only lengthened this week, with luckless veteran Dene Halatau succumbing to a hamstring. Bodene Thompson returns from suspension in a straight swap, and Cory Paterson remains the biggest winger on the planet.