The Canterbury Bulldogs have a great opportunity to gather some winning momentum today when they host the under strength Melbourne Storm. Join us for live scores and commentary from 3.00pm AEST.
With just eight weeks left before finals football, the Bulldogs really need to start stringing some wins together if they are to secure their place in the top eight.
The 2012 grand finalists are currently in ninth position and have struggled to replicate their terrific form of yesteryear.
Having come off a tight loss to Newcastle, the Bulldogs now find themselves hosting a Storm outfit minus Origin superstars Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Ryan Hoffman.
Throw in the injury to Gareth Widdop and its easy to see why the Bulldogs really should secure the competition points today.
While Melbourne still possess some attacking weapons (Justin O’Neill, Sisa Waqa and Will Chambers), anything less than a victory for Canterbury at home would be a massive failure given the amount of class the Storm have on the sidelines.
The pressure will be on the Bulldogs to win and win well in front of their home fans and this could either lead to two possibilities.
Knowing that a win is paramount, Canterbury may opt to come out firing in a bid to seal the victory before halftime against a vastly under strength Storm outfit.
Canterbury however may also get lulled into thinking that the two competition points are a formality today and this may lead to a flat performance from Des Hasler’s men.
The last time the Bulldogs played under strength opposition during the Origin period, they found themselves outclassed and outmuscled by a Roosters team missing Mitchell Pearce, James Maloney and Michael Jennings.
To avoid a repeat of such a loss, the Bulldogs have to aim up upfront and win the arm wrestle against Melbourne.
Forwards Sam Kasiano, James Graham, Greg Eastwood, Aidan Tolman and Frank Pritchard will look to dominate upfront against a Melbourne pack that can be outmuscled if the Bulldogs play direct today.
If the Bulldogs do roll up their sleeves and play the tough footy that got them to the 2012 grand final, then they will be far too strong for a spirited Storm outfit.
Bulldogs by 12.