The Bulldogs head north to Suncorp Stadium this Friday night and will take on the Broncos for the second time this season.
It has been a difficult week thus far Trent Barrett’s squad. Off the back of the Good Friday loss to the Rabbitohs, COVID concerns have necessitated some widespread changes, but with adversity comes opportunity.
Already missing Matt Doorey, Ray Faitala-Mariner, Jack Hetherington, Chris Patolo, Braidon Burns, Corey Allan, and Paul Alamoti through injury, the COVID related absence of Brent Naden, Jake Averillo, Ava Seumanufagai and Reece Hoffman stretched resources even thinner. All the changes have seen NRL debuts for winger Jacob Kiraz and prop, Billy Tsikrikas, at Suncorp Stadium.
Should further players be ruled out of the match, the intimidating trip north may well present itself as the most challenging task yet for Canterbury in 2022. If there was ever a moment for unity and a coming together for a common cause, this could well be the one.
Aaron Schoupp comes into the centres for Burns this week and Corey Waddell takes the vacant spot in the forwards, with Patolo missing the match under HIA protocols.
Last Friday, South Sydney felt the most sustained and consistent period of pressure dished out by the Dogs in 2022. Until the sin-binning of Jeremy Marshall-King, Canterbury had looked the better side and the subsequent shift in momentum was obvious as soon as the rake left the field.
Marshall-King has been one of the Bulldog’s best this season; defensively strong and battling with the other members of the spine to convert opportunity to points. He currently sits seventh on the NRL Fantasy leader board for hookers.
Matt Dufty made a pleasing return to form last week with 189 run metres, while Kyle Flanagan and Matt Burton showed some good moments, with the Bulldogs entering this fixture with high hopes of reversing the 16-10 defeat to the Broncos in Round 2.
The Queenslanders have made three key changes in their spine and will be somewhat unsettled, although Herbie Farnworth and Payne Haas do return to add some strength.
Luke Thompson will look to lead from the front again after a strong performance against the Bunnies and Barrett will be looking for an immediate improvement in completions and discipline, with seven ruck infringements pounced on by the referee last Friday.