Bulldogs v Warriors: Lewis back for Bulldogs
The Warriors are building nicely ahead of the Telstra Premiership finals, and will be pushing for three wins on the trot when they take on the Bulldogs on Sunday.
Usually struggling for form at this time of the year, Stephen Kearney's men are finally playing consistent footy, much to the relief of their long-suffering fans.
Canterbury are already preparing for next season, but need to produce an 80-minute performance as the race for the dreaded wooden spoon heats up.
Match: Bulldogs v Warriors
Round 23 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Key match up: Blake Green v Lachlan Lewis. Everywhere classy five-eighth Green goes, success follows. His game management and poise is outstanding, and this week the Warriors No.6 will look to outpoint Canterbury's young gun in the halves. Lewis missed last weekend's defeat against Manly due to personal reasons, and his radar-like kicking game will be crucial if his team are to stage an upset.
For the Bulldogs to win: Feed Reimis Smith. In what has been a forgettable campaign for the boys from Belmore, the youngster on the wing has impressed at every opportunity. He showed brute strength to score a try against Manly and is a rising star.
For the Warriors to win: Solomone Kata has been a standout in the centres this year. The Tongan international has taken his game to another level after the 2017 World Cup, scoring 10 tries in 19 appearances.
Bulldogs Stat Attack: Despite sitting in 14th spot, Dean Pay's men comfortably have the most post contact metres (11,099) in the competition. They are also the yardstick when it comes to total runs (3697). Fullback Will Hopoate has had a great year, chalking up 364 runs.
Warriors Stat Attack: With a competition-leading 267 offloads, Stephen Kearney's team have been their usual entertaining selves after 22 rounds. Fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has amassed 1091 kick return metres on top of his 100 tackle breaks, while Shaun Johnson has kicked the most field goals in the competition (4).
And another thing: The equation for the Warriors is simple - keep winning and a potential spot in the top four awaits. After losing to the Titans in round 19, plenty predicted a slide out of the top eight. Impressive victories against the Dragons and Knights have them back on track and brimming with confidence. Canterbury were committed against Manly last start, but desire in defence only gets you so far. Their attack has to be better.
Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Will HopoateFullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Brett MorrisWinger for Warriors is number 2 David Fusitu'a
Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Josh MorrisCentre for Warriors is number 3 Gerard Beale
Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Kerrod HollandCentre for Warriors is number 4 Solomone Kata
Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis SmithWinger for Warriors is number 5 Ken Maumalo
Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Lachlan LewisFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Blake Green
Halfback for Bulldogs is number 20 Matt FrawleyHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun Johnson
Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden TolmanProp for Warriors is number 8 James Gavet
Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Michael LichaaHooker for Warriors is number 9 Issac Luke
Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 David KlemmerProp for Warriors is number 10 Agnatius Paasi
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Isaiah Papali'i
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Rhyse Martin2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Adam Blair
Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Adam ElliottLock for Warriors is number 13 Simon Mannering
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 7 Jeremy Marshall-KingInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Danny FualaloInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Leivaha Pulu
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Ofahiki OgdenInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty Afoa
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Greg EastwoodInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Peta Hiku
Bulldogs: In a late change, Matt Frawley will start the match at halfback, with Jeremy Marshall-King moving back to the bench. Lachlan Lewis returns at five-eighth. After Francis Tualau and Fa'Amanu Brown were cut 24 hours prior to kick-off, Renouf Toomaga and John Olive were omitted an hour before game time.
Warriors: The Warriors will start 1-17 after Joseph Vuna and Tevita Satae were left out of the team an hour before kick-off. The Warriors have the best away record in the NRL in 2018 with eight wins from 11 games.
Head-to-head: Played 36; Bulldogs 20 wins, Warriors 14 wins, 2 draws
Previous result: Warriors won 21-14 at Mt Smart Stadium in round 16, 2017
Points per game: Bulldogs 16.4; Warriors 18.6
Points conceded per game: Bulldogs 19.9; Warriors 18.5
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: The Warriors are hitting form at just the right time and they are a side on the rise. They have been a lot more consisent in 2018 and with the finals just a few weeks away they look good. The Bulldogs put a couple of good wins together against the Broncos and Tigers but last week's loss to Manly leaves them in danger of a first wooden spoon since 2008.
Tip: Warriors by 8