Bulldogs v Rabbitohs
Thursday 28 August 2014
7:45pm – NRL Kick Off

If the last time these two sides met serves as any indication of the type of game we’re in for on Thursday night, then strap yourself in for what could be a nail-biter. Only this time, both teams have the benefit of a whole season behind them – time enough to get combinations, kinks and issues out of their respective games, as the finals draws ever closer.

The second placed Rabbitohs will take on the sixth-placed Bulldogs in what promises to be a teaser into finals football.

For the men in red and green, Thursday night represents an opportunity to claw back from last week’s loss to the Cowboys and consolidate their spot in the NRL’s top four. A superior points differential won’t be enough following a wonderful run of five successive victories. Both the Roosters and Panthers currently sit on equal competition points (32) coming into the round, with the lowest placed top eight team – Parramatta – not far behind on 28.

 

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Fireworks are set to fly when two of the most imposing packs in the game set to go head to head come Thursday night. According to Rabbitohs Head Coach, Michael Maguire, the battle for the middle of the field will go a long way to deciding the match.

“It’s going to be a good battle in the front row,” said Maguire.

“Canterbury have got a big team – they move the ball around and they challenge you through the middle so the test will be in the middle and we’ve got to make sure that we do all the little things in the game that we know we’re capable doing.”  

The likes of James Graham, Tony Williams and Aiden Tolman will face off with Sam and George Burgess, while halves pairing Adam Reynolds and Luke Keary will take on NSW half Trent Hodkinson and Moses Mbye. The question is, which of these two mammoth packs will be able to make the space for those little men to work in?

 

Last Time They Met

The South Sydney Rabbitohs went down to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs by one point in this year’s Good Friday clash at ANZ Stadium in a nail biter.

Both sets of fans turned out in force to see the Rabbitohs lead for much of the game, only to be denied in the dying stages of the match by a Trent Hodkinson field goal.

The Bulldogs looked to score early – putting the Rabbitohs on the back-foot in defence with Josh Morris’ pass to Corey Thompson sending the winger in. The video referee didn’t agree though, with a Dogs player deemed to be offside during the play.

Souths bombed a chance at the other end of the field just minutes later when a back-line movement drew the Dogs defence thanks to Greg Inglis before the fullback threw the ball out to an un-marked Bryson Goodwin. But the former Bulldog couldn’t capitalise.

The Rabbitohs continued to attack, with Adam Reynolds kicking to the wing of Nathan Merritt, but the record-breaking try-scorer could only get a finger-tip to the pill in mid-air before going dead in-goal.

After 29 minutes, a penalty to the Rabbitohs 11 metres out gave the home-team an opportunity to get the first points of the match through Adam Reynolds.

With four minutes remaining in the first half, Sam Burgess took a short-pass from Greg Inglis inside the Dog’s 10 metre line with Burgess hitting the ball at speed and crashing over to open the try-scoring tab for the afternoon out wide. Reynolds converted to make it 8-0 in the Rabbitohs’ favour.

From the ensuing kick-off Dave Tyrrell’s head clashed violently with James Graham – the Rabbitoh leaving the field.

Despite some strong attack from the Bulldogs close to the South Sydney line after the break, the Rabbitohs’ defence held strong, with Adam Reynolds managing to kick the side out of trouble on a number of occasions.

But after 12 minutes of holding out, the Rabbitohs line was finally broken by Bulldogs winger Mitch Brown out wide to put them back into the game. Trent Hodkinson converted to make it 8-6.

The Bulldogs’ celebrations were short-lived though thanks to Bryson Goodwin’s kick-off being knocked on by Dogs fullback Sam Perrett – gifting Souths an opportunity in good attacking position. A final-tackle grubber from Reynolds was then taken by Hodkinson, but Greg Inglis caught the blue and white half in-goal.

Hodkinson’s line-drop out travelled 70 metres, but the Rabbitohs were right back up their end by the end of the tackle count to apply yet more pressure.

Eventually it came down to Captain John Sutton, who barged over from first-receiver to extend the Rabbitohs lead. Reynolds converted from out wide to make it 14-6 with 14 minutes remaining.

A Souths mistake from the kick-off put the pressure right back onto them, with the Bulldogs’ Corey Thompson coming away with a four-pointer of his own. Hodkinson added the extras from the touch-line to make it 14-12 with 11 minutes remaining.

A penalty to the Bulldogs mere minutes later gave Trent Hodkinson the opportunity to equalise with 8 minutes remaining. Hodkinson made no mistake, levelling it all up at 14 apiece.

Both sides then began to trade field goal attempts with Hodkinson and Merritt both missing opportunities from close range. But with two minutes left and with the Rabbitohs on the back-foot, Hodkinson snapped a field goal from 25 metres out to boot his team into the lead and to victory.

 

Matchups

Bulldogs v Rabbitohs
Saturday 30 August 2014, Campbelltown Stadium
11.30am- Holden Cup Kick Off

The South Sydney Rabbitohs’ NYC side will take on the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs in this week’s Holden Cup clash at ANZ Stadium.

The Rabbitohs’ NYC side were due to play the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Thursday, but owing to inclement weather, will now play the match on Saturday morning at Campbelltown Stadium with kick-off at 11.30am.

For Ben Gardiner’s Rabbitohs side, there’s plenty on the line, with wins both this week and in round 26 having the potential to propel the side into finals contention just one game away from the business end of the season.

The Rabbitohs returned to form last weekend against the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium, accounting for their opponents by 16-4 in a well-controlled performance at ANZ Stadium after going down to Brisbane the previous round in the final moments of the match.

If the men in red and green are to be any chance of playing past round 26 this season, a win on Saturday morning is a must against the last-placed Bulldogs – a side that has won on just two occasions in 2014 with a points differential of -297.

The fight for the finals begins at Campbelltown Stadium, with Ben Gardiner naming an extended 18 man squad that includes the likes of Wallace Tangiiti – a potential substitute for the halves paring of Brad Wall and Jordie Hedges, as well as an accompaniment to the electric ability of Devon Makoare-Boyce at fullback.

Throw in the forward strength of Jack Gosiewski and Cheyne Whitelaw, and the Rabbitohs’ NYC side will be a formidable force.

 

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