Bulldogs v Eels: Mannah and Pritchard injured, Dogs name debutant
Tough night at the office for the Bulldogs last week. They out-played the Broncos for the most part, only to be denied by a controversial last-minute ruling for a shot at victory in extra time.
The Doggies have been in most games this season but the win-loss column is where it counts, and two victories from nine games isn't the sort of success rate that has their fans entertaining top eight thoughts.
It'll be interesting to see if such a gut-wrenching defeat leaves the Dogs feeling sorry for themselves or extra hungry to make someone pay, but they usually find something extra against long-time rivals Parra.
After a dismal 0-6 start to the season, the Eels stopped the rot with wins over Manly and the Tigers. They slipped up last week in a 22-20 loss to the Sharks and would still be wondering why they waited almost 70 minutes before finally playing some footy, although that's probably not giving enough credit to the Sharks' defensive capabilities.
Friday's Indigenous Round clash with the Doggies is a meeting of the bottom two teams on the ladder but they both need to treat it like a grand final.
Match: Bulldogs vs Eels
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- Nine Network
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Key match-up: Mitch Moses was a dejected figure after missing an after-the-siren conversion in last week's 22-20 loss to the Sharks. The Eels will be hoping the talented halfback has put the disappointment behind him and comes out with a positive mindset for a must-win game against the Bulldogs. His clash with Dogs playmaker (and Eels predecessor) Kieran Foran is likely to have a significant impact on which one of these bottom-placed teams comes up trumps.
For the Bulldogs to win: Obviously they haven't been great but the Bulldogs aren't as bad as their 2-7 record would suggest. Their problem is their inability to hold on to a lead. It proved costly against the Broncos last week and also against the Panthers a few weeks ago. If the Doggies are in a similar situation this week, they need to hold their nerve in crunch time.
For the Eels to win: Parra had us wondering if they were on the rise before last week's loss. They didn't match the Sharks' intensity and urgency in the first half and should've learned a valuable lesson about what usually happens when you come out just expecting it to happen instead of making it happen. They have to set an early tone and be ready for a hot reception from the Bulldogs in the first 20 minutes.
Bulldogs stat attack: It's been nearly 14 years since the Bulldogs last captured a premiership – their longest drought of the modern era. The club has won eight premierships – 1938, '42, '80, '84, '85, '88, '95 and 2004.
Eels stat attack: After forming in 1947 the Eels had to wait 34 years before the club won its maiden premiership. Parra fans didn't have to wait long for the second and third titles, as the Eels defended their crown in 1982 and '83. A fourth premiership followed in '86, but 32 years have passed and nothing has been added to the trophy cabinet.
And another thing: Eels legend Mick Cronin was one of the few players to be selected for Australia while still playing bush footy. Cronin became a Kangaroo in 1973 after starring for Gerringong and NSW Country. He signed with Parra at the age of 26 in '77 and retired in '86 as the club's all-time leading point-scorer (1971) aged 35.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Parramatta Eels, Friday 7.55pm at ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Will Hopoate, 5 Marcelo Montoya, 6 Matt Frawley, 7 Kieran Foran, 8 Aaron Woods, 9 Jeremy Marshall-King, 15 Danny Fualalo, 11 Josh Jackson (c), 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13 Rhyse Martin
Interchange: 10 David Klemmer, 14 Adam Elliott, 16 Renouf Toomaga, 17 Kerrod Holland
Josh Jackson moves back to second row with last week's impressive debutant Rhyse Martin switching to lock. Dave Klemmer will come off the bench, with Danny Fualalo to start. Renouf Toomaga replaces Clay Priest on the bench. John Olive and Asipeli Fine were cut an hour before kick-off, while Clay Priest and Michael Lichaa dropped from the squad on Thursday.
Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson (c), 2 Bevan French, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Will Smith, 13 Peni Terepo, 11 Manu Ma'u, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 14 Beau Scott (c)
Interchange: 10 Suaia Matagi, 15 Kenny Edwards, 16 David Gower, 17 Siosaia Vave
Peni Terepo has shifted from lock to prop with Suaia Matagi dropped to the bench. Beau Scott is the new starting lock. Kaysa Pritchard (groin) and Tim Mannah (fractured eye socket, 3-4 weeks) are out, with Will Smith starting at hooker. Cameron King and Marata Niukore were cut from the squad an hour prior to kick-off, while Kirisome Auva'a and Josh Hoffman were dropped on Thursday night.
Head-to-head: Played 142; Bulldogs 75 wins, Eels 62 wins, 5 draws
Matches at venue: Played 28; Bulldogs 15 wins, Eels 13 wins
2017 results: Eels won 13-12 at ANZ Stadium and 20-4 at ANZ Stadium in round 22
Points per game: Bulldogs 15.2; Eels 14.9
Points conceded per game: Bulldogs 21.1; Eels 22.9
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League
Steve Turner's prediction: The Bulldogs were a much-improved footy side against the Broncos with the changes to their side, despite not coming away with the two points. Meanwhile, the Eels will be disappointed with the way they started last week after fighting back and going down by two. Fix their start and eliminate errors and results will fall their way, but the Dogs love adversity and love a battle with their rivals. Not many sides thrive on adversity like Canterbury and I feel it's only a matter of time before the bounce of the ball falls their way. Tip: Bulldogs by 4