The Fifth Tackle: Round 12 v Raiders
THE Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs head south this weekend to tackle the Canberra Raiders in the nation's capital.
Having downed the Roosters in Round 11, the Dogs are gunning to keep the wins coming and are looking to make it three in a row against the seventh placed Raiders.
Take a look at the five questions facing both sides.
Will Klemmer’s impact be missed?
David Klemmer has been outstanding over the past month for the Bulldogs, whether it be starting or coming from the bench. The 22-year-old will miss the Raiders clash after being selected in the New South Wales side for game one and it’s his workload and impact that has been a hit for the Bulldogs. The Origin star has averaged 57 minutes, 21 carries and 209metres per game over the last four weeks. Will his impact be felt or will his replacements cover his workload?
Which of the Poms will come out on top?
Bulldogs enforcer James Graham will line up against two of his England teammates in Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead. The two Raiders have one up on Graham in 2016, when the Raiders walked away from Belmore in round five with a convincing win. The Bulldogs skipper will have added responsibilities this week, with teammates David Klemmer and Josh Jackson missing due to origin commitments.
Raiders number nine Josh Hodgson has been in stellar form throughout 2016 and currently leads the Dally M voting after a string of classy performances and is easily the most improved player in the competition, while Elliott Whitehead has continued to improve each week in his first season in the NRL, consistently making metres with ball and getting through a mountain of work in defence.
It’s fifth v seventh, but in the end, which team with the Englishman will walk away on top?
Will it be win number four in Canberra?
The Bulldogs head to Canberra minus a couple of stars, but they do head to the nation’s capital with plenty of confidence after the past three road trips down south have seen the boys from Belmore come away with the two points. It’s one of the toughest road trips in the game and with the club looking to make it three wins in a row for 2016 can they make it four wins in a row in Canberra?
Will goal kicking be the difference?
The Bulldogs and Raiders have played out some scoring bonanzas in the nation’s capital, including last year’s 41-34 Bulldogs victory. In 2002 the Raiders won 38-34 and in 2008 the home side registered a 52-34 victory. This weekend’s clash presents another opportunity for points to be scored. The Bulldogs kick at 70%, while the Raiders kick at 80% and with plenty of strike and try scorers in both backlines, will goal kicking prove to be the difference on Sunday?
Who will rise to the occasion?
Josh Reynolds and Blake Austin will face off this weekend in a bid to push their case for selection come Origin two next month.
The two energetic number sixes were mentioned as potential options for Laurie Daley and his Blues side, but despite being over looked, the talented five-eighths will be looking to lead their sides around on Sunday and remind selectors of what they can provide.
If the result doesn’t go the Blues way in game one, will Reynolds or Austin force their way into the side off the back of a stellar performance this weekend?