Have The Dogs Lost Their Bite?

Picture: Mark Evans/heraldsun.com.au
James Graham has led the Bulldogs pack this year. Picture: Mark Evans/heraldsun.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Round 1, 2012 – Canterbury Bulldogs 22 d Penrith Panthers 14 4 at ANZ Stadium
Round 17, 2011 – Penrith Panthers 20 d Canterbury Bulldogs 6 at Penrith Stadium
Round 25, 2010 - Penrith Panthers 24 d Canterbury Bulldogs 18 at ANZ Stadium
Round 11, 2010 - Penrith Panthers 31 d Canterbury Bulldogs 16 at Penrith Stadium
Round 15, 2009 - Canterbury Bulldogs 19 d Penrith Panthers 12 4 at ANZ Stadium

Current Form

  Rd 20    Rd 21    Rd 22    Rd 23    Rd 24 
Bulldogs

W

W

L

W

L

Panthers

L

L

L

W

W


The Bulldogs  may have lost two of their past three matches but still consider themselves legitimate premierships contenders and will be out to prove as much when they tackle the Panthers  on Saturday. Already without Sam Kasiano, Greg Eastwood and Ben Barba through injury, they will also have to contend with the unavailability of enforcer Frank Pritchard who copped a two week ban for an illegal shoulder charge against the Rabbitohs last week. Tony Williams has been named to start in his place, with Lachlan Burr to make his debut on the bench.

The Panthers kept their finals hopes alive with a 28-12 victory over Brisbane in round 24 and are playing sudden death football again this weekend, with a loss likely to see them drop out of contention for a top eight finish. Tim Grant has been named at prop alongside Sam McKendry after starting on the bench last week and the battle that pair have up front against the Bulldogs big pack could go a long way to determining the outcome of the match.


1st Tryscorer

Mitch Brown  doesn’t get the plaudits of his better known teammates, but he has been one of the Bulldogs most consistent players this season and his return of 11 tries from 21 outings in the NRL bears testament to that. He scored twice against Souths last weekend and will again be one of Canterbury’s go-to men near the tryline.

Lachlan Coote  has played just five times this season after suffering a pectoral injury in round two but has made a big difference to the side since returning to start at fullback two weeks ago. It’s no coincidence that since being handed the custodian role Penrith has beaten both the Warriors and Broncos and he will continue to challenge the line in attack.


Prediction

The Panthers have blown hot and cold this season, with a win over the Storm showing their best form and a lost to the Tigers the worst. They have dominated recent meetings between these sides, winning on seven of the past ten occasions the sides have met but that is offset by a terrible record at ANZ Stadium (3 from 11). They will need to be near their peak to defeat the Bulldogs, who were gallant in defeat against Souths last Friday night and should be too good however. Canterbury Bulldogs by 12

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