Bulldog bound Andrew Fafita will miss the game against his new club through suspension. Picture: Mark Evans/dailytelegraph.com.au
Canterbury Bulldogs v Cronulla Sharks
Monday, March 17 – 6.05pm (AEST)
Things you need to know:
Canterbury already have one win over the Sharks this week, signing their best forward Andrew Fifita on a rich four-year deal from 2015. The Bulldogs are unchanged from the side that went down to the Broncos last weekend, with youngster Moses Mbye again included on a five-man bench. It's been more bad news than good for Cronulla this week. While star five-eighth Todd Carney hasn't overcome a hamstring problem, they lose skipper Paul Gallen for up to six weeks with an ankle syndesmosis injury. Fifita and fellow forward Siosaia Vave will also both miss the clash after picking up suspensions from last Monday's loss to the Gold Coast. Chris Heighington was named 18th man after missing Round 1 with a calf injury, but will come into the side.
Reason to watch:
Fifita might only be watching from the stands but there is sure to still be some feeling between the two sides after the Bulldogs stole him away from the Sharks on a lucrative four-year deal from next season. The Test and Origin prop was seen as someone the Sharks were hoping to build a period of sustained success around, and their fans aren't happy he's off after the club Shire club helped him get to where he is now. The Bulldogs have also snuck in under the Sharks' guard to sign impressive young hooker Michael Lichaa. It means there will be plenty of feeling between the sides.
Reason to turn away:
Based on the opening weekend it's hard to be this being a free-flowing, high-scoring affair. It has all the ingredients of being a very defence orientated, dour affair. Between them they gave away 19 penalties in round one so discipline could be a problem and if there's a similar number blown by the men in Pink this week, a boring stop-start 80 minutes looks on the cards.
"Everyone's probably saying the Bulldogs should come away with an easy win but we're not thinking that. They've got some young guys that will come into the side and want to prove themselves and that's always a dangerous thing. If we play like we did against the Broncos (last) Friday night we'll come away with the same result. (Fifita) is a great signing for the club. He's a great player... probably the peak of any forward at the moment. But we're not thinking about that at the moment. We've got a great pack here already." – Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds
It might only be early days but neither side will want to be zero and two after the opening couple of rounds. Unfortunately injury and suspension has robbed both teams of some of their star talent. The Sharks though look to be the worst hit and without the likes of Gallen, Fifita, Carney, Jeff Robson and Beau Ryan, it probably tips it in the home side's favour. Bulldogs by 6
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