Bulldogs & Rabbitohs face off in match of the round
A Bulldogs side on a five day turnaround and a Souths side on its best run of form since 1989 is sure to make for an intriguing coming together in round 13 of the 2012 Telstra Premiership this Saturday night at ANZ Stadium.by NRL
A Bulldogs side on a five day turnaround and a Souths side on its best run of form since 1989 is sure to make for an intriguing coming together in round 13 of the 2012 Telstra Premiership this Saturday night at ANZ Stadium.
The fifth placed Bulldogs have won their past two matches in fair style ? defeating the previously high flying Cronulla 26-6 two Mondays ago before routing the Roosters at Allianz Stadium and come into the clash with the Rabbitohs high on confidence.
With forwards like Frank Pritchard, James Graham and Sam Kasiano - who inked a new three year contract extension this week - playing the kind of high tempo, high impact football which has had critics raving.
However lying in wait is a fourth placed South Sydney outfit who have won four games straight for the first time since the last time the Club claimed the minor premiership - 1989.
"They've been playing great," Bulldogs forward Dene Halatau said of the Rabbitohs. "They've got a lot of strike in the forwards, and in their backs. We're going to have to be strong across the park.
"We had a pretty tough game on Monday night and we're not facing any easier competition when we play them this weekend."
Look at the Souths line up and you can see the reason for Halatau's cautious respect.
"You look at the statistics, I think it's about 76 percent of sides coming out of Monday games haven't backed up successfully on the Saturday," Bulldogs coach Des Hasler says.
"We're trying to turn that around against a pretty red hot side in South Sydney at the moment. Gee they're playing well.
"Players of the calibre of (Sam) Burgess, a seasoned international, (Dave) Taylor - international, Inglis - an international ... I really like the way Johnny Sutton is playing. There's another representative player out there on the wing called (Nathan) Merritt. Another international player in the middle called Isaac Luke."
"We give ourselves every chance, but we're battlers. And we'll be battlers again against 'Crowey's' boys. But it'll be a great game. I just hope that we can get 35-thousand people turning up. Both sides are in good form, aren't they?"
One who knows a bit about the strike power of Souths fullback Greg Inglis is the man who marked up on him - albeit in the centres - in State of Origin One.
"He's a pretty hard man to stop," Bulldogs centre Josh Morris. "So we're going to have to be all on our job on Saturday night and I think everyone's looking forward to the challenge.
"You've just got to try and shut down his time, you don't want him to get a wind up and get that long fend out. The less time he has the ball in his hands the better for us.
"That's obviously why we're looking forward to this clash. It's not just GI, the whole side's playing really well. They're looking for their fifth win in a row and we're looking for a win going into the bye so it's an important clash for both teams and it's one we're really looking forward to."
Souths took the honours in the first clash between the two sides this season, a 20-10 win back on Good Friday.
"We thought we were well in that game," Halatau says. "The first half we were pretty good, but we came in behind on the scoreboard. And then in the second half they really ran away with it.
"So we were disappointed with the way we played at the back end of the game, we need to put in 80 minutes this week and try and get one back."
The Bulldogs will be without Greg Eastwood for the clash, after he succumbed to a hamstring strain, however there is no word at the time of writing as to his likely replacement. The final call on the match day 17 will be made one hour before kick off.
Gates open for the clash between Souths and the Bulldogs at 5.10pm on Saturday, with kick off in the NRL clash set down for 7.35pm.
Teams are as follows:
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs v South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium, 7:35pm (local).
BULLDOGS: Ben Barba, Krisnan Inu, Josh Morris, Jonathan Wright, Tim Lafai, Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (c), Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Dene Halatau, Greg Eastwood*. Interchange (from): James Graham, David Stagg, Corey Payne, Trent Hodkinson, Joel Romelo, Martin Taupau, Dale Finucane.
*Injured, will not play.
RABBITOHS: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Matt King, Dylan Farrell, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Luke Burgess, Issac Luke, Dave Tyrrell, Sam Burgess, Dave Taylor, Michael Crocker. Interchange (from): Jason Clark, Ben Lowe, Eddy Pettybourne, Scott Geddes, Chris McQueen, Justin Hunt.
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