Do-Or-Die Clash At ANZ Stadium

Picture: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au
Tony Williams has been disappointing for the Bulldogs. Picture: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Round 17, 2013 – Newcastle Knights 18 d Canterbury Bulldogs 12 at Mackay Stadium
Round 10, 2013 – Newcastle Knights 44 d Canterbury Bulldogs 8 at Hunter Stadium
Round 22, 2012 - Canterbury Bulldogs 26 d Newcastle Knights 10 at Hunter Stadium
Round 4, 2012 – Newcastle Knights 20 d Canterbury Bulldogs 6 at ANZ Stadium
Round 25, 2011 - Canterbury Bulldogs 32 d Newcastle Knights 22 at ANZ Stadium

Current Form

  Rd 22    Rd 23    Rd 24    Rd 25    Rd 26 
Bulldogs

L

W

L

W

L

Knights

W

L

L

W

W


The Bulldogs  meet the Knights  in the second elimination final at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with the season over for the team that loses. Despite suffering a disappointing 16-11 defeat to Brisbane in their last regular season fixture of 2013, Canterbury boss Des Hasler has named an unchanged lineup for this match, with Ben Barba on the bench again after coming on as a substitute after returning from an ankle injury against the Broncos last weekend. Greg Eastwood remains sidelined with a hand injury but could return if the Bulldogs win through to the next round.

With Jeremy Smith making a successful return from injury in the Knights 54-6 demolition of Parramatta last Sunday, Wayne Bennett has named an unchanged side for this do-or-die clash. With Craig Gower and Kurt Gidley out for the season with foot and neck injuries respectively, Matt Hilder is retained as the utility on the bench after playing his third match of the season against the Eels in round 26.


1st Tryscorer

Only three players have scored more tries for the Bulldogs this season than five-eighth Josh Reynolds , who has got across the line nine times from 22 appearances. He opened the scoring against Brisbane last weekend and will look to take the line on when his side gets into an attacking position.

Prolific tryscorer James McManus  had gone four matches without a try going into the final round of the season but managed to break his run of outs with a double against the hapless Eels. He finished the regular season as the joint top tryscorer and bagged a four pointer in both previous meetings between these clubs in 2013.


Prediction

Neither of these sides have been hugely convincing at the back end of the season, with both struggling for consistency. The Bulldogs haven’t won back-to-back matches since wins over the Eels and Dragons at the start of August and appear to be distracted by ongoing dramas with star fullback Ben Barba. The Knights two recent wins may have come against sides that missed the top eight but you can’t knock winning form and they may just shock Canterbury. Newcastle Knights by 8

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