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Vossy's Last Word: Warriors v Bulldogs

Vossy's Last Word: Warriors v Bulldogs

Vossy's Last Word: Warriors v Bulldogs

Voss_March24
VOSSY’S LAST WORD: WARRIORS V BULLDOGS

Warriors v Canterbury Bulldogs

When: Friday June 23, 2017.

Where: Mount Smart Stadium.

Watch it: LIVE. SKY Sport 2 7.30pm.

Right then… after a stunning Origin game on Wednesday night, it is back to the business of the NRL, and an absolutely crucial game for the premiership campaigns of the Warriors and the Bulldogs.

Both teams sit two points out of the top eight with win/loss records in 2017 of 6 and 8. That’s not all together flattering but there is still time to mount a serious finals challenge. And the winner in this one will get the jump on their opponent.

Both are also coming off a bye after winning their respective matches in round 14. The Bulldogs enter this contest though knowing they were too good for the Warriors back in round three in Dunedin. On that night it was a 24-12 win to Des Hasler’s team.

Overall in the head to head record from 35 meetings, the Bulldogs have won 20, the Warriors 13 and there have been 2 draws.

A further examination of the attack and defence stats for the two teams complicates the issue. While the Warriors have averaged scoring one extra try per game than the Bulldogs this season, in defence they’ve actually conceded one extra four pointer per week.

So what will win out here?

Home ground advantage has proven valuable this year for Stephen Kearney’s team, losing just once at Mount Smart.

With Kieran Foran absent due to injury, Shaun Johnson has to start dominating matches on a consistent basis. If they strike it right here, the Warriors attack might be too hot for the Bulldogs to handle.

And the Warriors are clear of any Origin hangover, meantime Canterbury will be sweating on the fitness of key men David Klemmer and Josh Jackson with Blues winger Brett Morris already ruled out.

This is a big game folks. What a way to kick off the round on SKY Sport.

The hot tip:

I’m anticipating a fast start from the Warriors. If that’s the case, get set for the first try to come down their left side with big Ken Maumalo diving over!

Kiwi watch:

There are a number of former Warriors players who will feature in the late game on Friday headed by Konrad Hurrell for the Titans, and Tuimoala Lolohea for the Tigers.

It’ll be a Super Saturday on SKY Sport with the Cowboys first up against the Panthers. Kiwi international Te Maire Martin features in the program as a Cowboys player for the first time but it remains to be seen if he gets a start.

In the second game on Saturday, again our focus will be on the NRL’s leading tryscorer Jordan Rapana who has 14 from 14 matches. Rapana’s Canberra tackle Brisbane, who are set to field the all Kiwi halves pairing of Benji Marshall and Kodi Nikorima.

In the late game, rugby league returns to South Australia with the Roosters against the Storm in Adelaide. Jared Warea-Hargreaves will have a point to prove up front against Jesse Bromwich.

And there will be two games for you on Sunday. Russell Packer will hope to lead from the front for the Dragons as they seek to avoid three straight losses in their clash with the Knights.

While the round will be completed with the Sharks at home to Manly. The Rabbitohs and the Eels both have a bye.

From the vault:

It was round 16, 2008, that Ruben Wiki became the first New Zealander to play 300 premiership games. And what an incredible match it was against the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.

The Warriors had led at one stage by 16-0 only to see a big home team fightback. Taniela Tuiaki scored for the Tigers in the final minute to bring his side within two points at 28-26. However the sideline conversion from Brett Hodgson missed, and the Warriors hung on for a dramatic victory to celebrate Ruben’s big day.

My tips for round 16:

Warriors, Tigers, Cowboys, Broncos, Roosters, Dragons, Sharks.

Twitter: @AndrewVossy
 

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