Barba Returns for Bulldogs

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au, Picture: Mark Evans
Ben Barba returns for the Bulldogs against Souths. Picture: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Preliminary Final 2012 – Canterbury Bulldogs 32 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 8 at ANZ Stadium
Round 13 2012 – Canterbury Bulldogs 23 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 at ANZ Stadium
Round 6 2012 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 d Canterbury Bulldogs 10 at ANZ Stadium
Round 7 2011 – Canterbury Bulldogs 36 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 at ANZ Stadium
Round 2 2011 – Canterbury Bulldogs 28 d South Sydney Rabbitohs 19 at ANZ Stadium

Current Form (most recent first)

Bulldogs - LWL
Rabbitohs - WWW

Ben Barba will make his long awaited return to action on Friday when he lines up for the Bulldogs  against Souths . In the absence of their best player, last year’s beaten grand finalists have struggled, with last week’s 22-18 lost to Melbourne Storm the clubs second in the opening three matches. Frank Pritchard also returns to the squad for the first time this year after recovering from a groin strain, but James Graham remains suspended after biting Billy Slater in last year’s decider and Sam Kasiano continues his recovery from a leg injury.

As one of only two unbeaten teams in the competition, Souths will be confident of beating Canterbury at ANZ Stadium despite having won just once in the past six meetings between the clubs. Former Rabbitohs skipper Roy Asotasi didn’t figure in his sides’ 44-32 win over Penrith last weekend after being dumped from the squad and has been named 18th man, with Dave Tyrrell retained on the bench.

1st Tryscorer

Although he is playing his first NRL game of the season, Bulldogs fullback Ben Barba  will without a doubt be the biggest threat to the Rabbitohs defence that conceded six tries against the Panthers on Sunday. He was the leading tryscorer in the competition last season and bagged a hat-trick in the All Stars game last month.

Andrew Everingham  burst onto the scene last year with 17 tries from 25 first grade appearances and has already managed to cross the tryline twice this season. If the Bulldogs focus all their efforts on stopping Greg Inglis and Nathan Merritt in attack, Everingham will make them pay.

Prediction – Despite losing to Melbourne last weekend, Canterbury were not disgraced against a side that has started the new campaign in devastating form. They also boast a good record against Souths having won five of the past six meetings between the clubs. The Rabbitohs have shown that they can score points but the fact they conceded 32 points against the Panthers will concern coach Michael Maguire. If Souths defend like they did at Penrith, the Dogs will punish them. Canterbury Bulldogs 1-12

Click here to bet on NRL Round 4 matches