By Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: ROUND 12 – Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs V Saint George Illawarra Dragons – Friday, ANZ Stadium. 19.45 local time, 21.45 NZ time.
LAST WEEK: The Bulldogs bounced back after being humiliated the week before, winning 24-14 over the Broncos
Dragons were kept to zero for the first time in 427 games at Kograh since 1950. Going down 19-0 to Penrith.
THIS WEEK: Canterbury will have a big task on their hands as both sides have been good, but not great. Players missing through Origin will cause a wee bit of disruption but the Bankstown boys know just how crucial every single win is from now on.
Saint George have looked a lot better in the last few weeks, but a hit last week not so much. Origin means they have to take this one with a pinch of salt. A high class team with blood youngsters, a lot to offer.
WHAT TO EXPECT: The Bulldogs to pounce. They are always a dangerous team, and when push comes to shove they can pull out a goodie. A forward pack that replicates Godzilla, leaving up the guts a tough option to take for any opposition.
With a lot more attacking flare posing major threats to sides in the last three weeks, the Dragons need to continue this. Unlucky to cross with some bad officiating last week. High balls are their major strike weapon, and if the outside backs can get a great leap – it could spell danger.
THE BATTLE OF: Off-field fools, Flareful Fullbacks. Ben Barba had a less than desirable start to the season, but owes a lot to his team mates. His form is great, but everyone’s waiting to see Barba from 2012.
Josh Dugan needs to work on his tweeting skills, other then his social efforts he is a pretty desirable player to have in your squadron. A stellar Red-V debut a few weeks ago, give him any time with ball in hand and prepare to pay.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: James Graham – Since biting Slater’s ear in the Grand Final, his telling off time has expired and has been great for the Bulldogs on return.
Mitch Rein. A player that has a big future in the game. His dummy half work is magnificent, and always keeps the Dragons on the front foot.
PREDICTION: This is a toughie. Always is when these two teams come together. The Dragons have suffered in Origin, but their form right now tells me they can do this.
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