Raiders of the lost art show how to beat Bulldogs
One must wonder if Geoff Toovey did any homework for last night’s game against the Bulldogs. A fortnight ago, David Furner and his Canberra Raiders side gave the rest of the NRL the blueprint for how to beat the Bulldogs.
To not try and replicate that simple game plan tonight in one of the biggest matches of the year is negligent.
It is well known that the Bulldogs’ outside backs rush up in defence; and as such, they are extremely vulnerable to short kicks in behind the line, with Canberra exploiting this to maximum effect.
This ploy was particularly successful against the left defence of Jonathan Wright and Brett Morris, where opposing winger Sandor Earl scored a hat-trick by the 50th minute.
On the other side of the field, the other Raiders winger Reece Robinson scored two tries. After the early successful onslaught, the Bulldog defence was in two minds about how to defend. The tried and true method of rushing up was for once working against them and resulted in a 34–6 thrashing.
Doubt in such a fast physical game is your best friend. It creates time and space and most importantly, tries.
Perhaps fortunately for Manly they survive another week due to their top four finish, although with a couple of injury worries and captain Jason King and Steve Matai on report they are facing an uphill battle.
Their likely opponent will be the Cowboys, who should pose too many questions for the hapless Broncos, who have limped into the finals with one win from the last seven games.
The Bulldogs deserve their week off having been the most consistent team of the year. Their next opponent won’t become clear until next weekend. Perhaps it will be the Raiders.
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