After gutsy wins over Manly and then the Storm in Melbourne, the Bulldogs were expected to easily account for the West Tigers last week.
However it was the Tigers who looked like the short priced favourites, running in nine tries to the Bulldogs’ three.
The two sides traded tries in the first half but four tries within the first twenty minutes of the second half to the Tigers, put the Bulldogs out of contention and cost them equal top spot on the ladder with Manly.
It was clearly and uncharacteristically the worst defensive effort the Dogs have submitted for quite some time and for a team that prides itself on making teams earn every point, they’ll be out this week to redeem themselves.
The loss and the return of centre Josh Morris, has seen a number of changes made to last week’s squad for this game. Krisnan Inu is dropped, Moses Mbye starts at five-eight for the suspended Josh Reynolds which pushes Josh Jackson to the second row and Greg Eastwood to lock.
The Bulldogs do not like to lose two in a row and have only done so twice since this time last year.
Courtesy of a dream start that saw them score twice inside of the first five minutes last week against the Sharks, the Cowboys were able to register their first win (36 – 18) of the season away from home.
No surprise to see Coach Paul Green go with the same squad as last week as the Cowboys try for an extremely rare away double.
With four of their six remaining games after this one at home, a win here could position the Cowboys well for the run into the finals however, their record at ANZ Stadium in not great. Nor is it against the Bulldogs who have beaten them in all bar one of the past seven matches.
Tariq Sims has scored a try in each of the past four games for the Cowboys whilst winger Antonio Winterstein has scored six tries in the past five and both represent good value to score during the game.
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HEAD TO HEAD.
The Dogs have dominated the Cowboys since 2009 and with them stinging after last week’s heavy loss; they’ll be focused and ready for this clash.
The Cowboys have a forward pack to match it with the big Dogs forwards however and have also scored over 20 points per game in all bar one of their past six matches.
They would’ve taken plenty out of the Tigers performance last week and would expect the Cowboys to push the Dogs to their best here but at home, the Dogs should prevail.
Bulldogs: Mitch Brown, Corey Thompson, Josh Morris, Timoteo Lafai, Drury Low, Moses Mbye, Trent Hodkinson, Sam Kasiano, Michael Ennis, James Graham, Josh Jackson, Tony Williams, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Reni Maitua, Dale Finucane, Pat O’Hanlon, Lloyd Perrett, Damien Cook
Cowboys: Michael Morgan, Matthew Wright, Tautau Moga, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Robert Lui, Johnathan Thurston, Ashton Sims, Rory Kostjasyn, James Tamou, Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Glenn Hall. Interchange: Ray Thompson, Scott Bolton, John Asiata, Sam Hoare