As the 2014 NRL season enters its penultimate round there is plenty on the line for Canterbury Bulldogs and South Sydney Rabbitohs. The traditional rivals are both set to feature in the finals series and will want to make a statement when they meet at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.
A week ago the Rabbitohs were looking to keep the destiny of the Minor Premiership in their own hands. However, after Saturday’s defeat against the Cowboys they are now nervously looking over their shoulder hoping the flat display was just a blip.
Their spot in the top four is far from certain with tough games against the Bulldogs and Roosters to end the regular season. Having built momentum with five consecutive wins, the loss to the Cowboys has brought up questions of the Rabbitohs’ ability to go the distance.
George Burgess is back from suspension, but Ben Te’o is still unavailable. Burgess will need to be straight back to his best to help his brothers and teammates go toe to toe with the largest forward pack in the NRL.
The Bulldogs have turned their form around with two consecutive wins, and are once again considered a threat going into the finals series. They have had two extra days to recover from their last game, and arguably a half less of strenuous football action such was the ease with which they beat Wests Tigers.
Another close contest is in store with little to separate the two sides on paper. A Trent Hodkinson field goal for the Bulldogs was all that did so on Good Friday, and a similarly close scoreline is on the cards. A week of wet weather will have left the pitch at ANZ Stadium heavy under foot, but thankfully a dry night is forecast for those heading out to the game.
Thursday 28th August, ANZ Stadium Homebush 19:45