Belmore Sports Ground will tomorrow host three of the NSW Cup week one finals matches with the Bulldogs featuring in the final match of the day at 6pm against the North Sydney Bears.
With the finals being hosted by the New South Wales Rugby League, unfortunately Bulldogs members will be unable to gain free entry to the matches, with the following prices put in place for the finals:
Concessions and U12: Free
The order of play is as follows:
2.00pm: Mounties v NZ Warriors
4.00pm: Manly Sea-Eagles v Newcastle Knights
6.00pm: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v North Sydney Bears
Match Preview: Bulldogs v Bears
The Canterbury Bulldogs and North Sydney Bears did not play semi-finals in 2014, and the fact they face-up in the first week of finals is a testament to each clubs hard work in the 2015 season.
While some coaches would almost certainly under-hype the opportunity to play finals footy, Bears coach Ben Gardiner says his team is excited at the prospect of doing so.
“I think that a lot of this week for us is going to be worrying about ourselves and getting excited about playing semi final footy,” said Gardiner.
“Our club hasn’t played semi final footy for a couple of years, so getting our boys’ heads about that and dealing with the challenges of that because it’s a different style of footy semi-final footy.
“Preparing, thinking about us and what we’re going to do and what we need to do as a team is the key.”
While the focus will be on themselves early on, Gardiner understands the dangerous Bulldogs outfit cannot be ignored – as they are one of the most expansive teams in the competition.
“As the week goes along we’ll have a look at the Bulldogs,” said Gardiner.
“We’ll make sure we tick off our knowledge based points so we know what they’ve got in their team.”
The Bears have had a red-hot second half of the season, but are currently on a two-match losing streak.
Gardiner believes his team has to primarily work on ball control to avoid making it three losses in a row in this week’s must-win match against the Bulldogs.
“We’ve taken away from (the past two losses) that to win games, whether it’s semi-final games, competition games, trials or whatever it is, you need to hold onto the ball to win the match, we’ve spoken extensively about that,” said Gardiner.
“We’ve had a good look on how we’ve played and we’ve had a good look at our defence but, like I said, it’s about this week and what we’re doing this week and moving forward from there.”
This match features the competition try-scoring leader Tyrone Phillips from the Bulldogs, as well as dynamo five-eighth Cody Walker who has 17 tries himself.
There are attacking weapons across the park and on both sides of the field, so expect this match to be a high-scoring thriller.