Sydney Roosters v Canterbury Bulldogs Friday, March 16, 6pm (AEDT) Allianz Stadium, Sydney
The Roosters were shock casualties in Round 1, going down to the Tigers in the biggest upset of the round. New recruits James Tedesco and Cooper Cronk had less than impressive debuts and will be determined to make amends against the Bulldogs. They should be aided by the likely return of five-eighth Luke Keary, who missed the clash with the Tigers due to a jaw injury. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs went toe-toe with the Storm in Perth, before they were blown away late, but showed that they’re willing to play some expansive football this season under new coach Dean Pay. Moses Mbye showed some promising signs in his new role as fullback. The battle of the fullbacks is just one of many match-ups that The Wolf is looking forward to between these old rivals.
FormThe Sydney Roosters started Round 1 as the biggest favourites when going in the 12-point chalk against the Wests Tigers but were beaten 10-8 by the Wests Tigers on a final minute conversion in a very disappointing season opener. The match went under. Canterbury travelled to Perth to play their season opener against premiers Melbourne and were beaten 36-18 in a match that showed signs of improvement from last year but showed how off the mark they are. The game went over and the Bulldogs did not cover.
Key MatchupCooper Cronk v Kieran Foran: Cronk made a very quiet Roosters debut against the Tigers in Round 1, running the ball just three times. However, it wasn’t all on Cronk as the Roosters pack didn’t match up against the Tigers, while he received little support from Mitch Cornish, who was replacing the injured Luke Keary. You can bet your bottom dollar that Roosters coach Trent Robinson will be telling Cronk to run the ball more than three times this week against the Bulldogs. Foran made a strong debut for the Bulldogs, setting up two tries and worked well with halves partner Matt Frawley. He just needs to stay healthy this season if the Bulldogs are any chance of a run to the finals.
Stats That Matter– The Roosters-Bulldogs rivalry goes back to 1935 with the Roosters winning 86 of the 171 matches played with Canterbury winning 80 and five games drawn. – The Chooks have won 8 of the last 11 v the Bulldogs as well as three of the last five at Allianz Stadium. – The last three matches have all been decided by a single score. – The last six matches between the two sides have all topped 42 points with four topping 50. – The Roosters have covered 21 of their last 38 at Allianz Stadium while they are 10-10 ATS with a 14-6 under record when favoured by more than a converted try. – The Roosters are 7-1 ATS after being held to 10 points or fewer. – The Bulldogs are a poor 11-25 ATS over the last four years away from ANZ with a 23-13 under number. – Getting a start of 8 or more away from ANZ the Bulldogs are 0-3 ATS while getting more than 6 they are 4-8 ATS.
Final ThoughtsThe Roosters have had the wood over the Bulldogs in recent years, winning 8 of the past 11 clashes, and should be too strong here, especially on the back of their shock loss against the Tigers. However, the Bulldogs showed enough against the Storm to suggest that the Roosters won’t get it all their own way here. The Bulldogs also have a better pack than the Tigers and will more than hold their own against the tri-colours. The last three matches have all been decided by a single score and The Wolf is expecting more of the same here, in favour of the Roosters.
How It’s Shaping UpSydney by 6
Recommended BetsBest: Sydney 1-12 ($2.90) Value: HT/NT Margin Double – Sydney 9+/Sydney 1-12 ($9) First Tryscorer: Boyd Cordner