League fan … the Duchess of Cambridge asks a couple of kiddies what the halftime score is in the Bulldogs-Souths match.
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Big forwards set to collide as the traditonal Good Friday match hits Sydney Olympic Park.
ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park, Friday 4pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Rabbitohs 28 bt Bulldogs 20 at ANZ Stadium (round 24, 2013).
Head-to-head: Rabbitohs 66, Bulldogs 77, drawn 4
Referees: Shayne Hayne, Ben Cummins
TV: Live, FoxSports 1
Ladbrokes: Rabbitohs $1.80, Bulldogs $2
Betfair: Rabbitohs $1.92, Bulldogs $2.04
Michael Chammas writes: The Bulldogs have come into some good form, but so too have the Bunnies. Souths were brilliant in defence last week, without being able to show much in attack because of the wet conditions at Penrith. This is going to be a belter, but the Rabbitohs should get the job done.
Tip: Rabbitohs by 1
AAP writes: What better time for the Bunnies to get the chocolates than at Easter? However, downing second-placed Canterbury might prove more difficult than getting Bulldogs coach Des Hasler to ditch his beloved ‘‘fly under the radar’’ line. Souths have won their past two matches against the ’Dogs but Canterbury showed just why they can never be counted out in their come-from-behind, one-point last-round win over a heartbroken Warriors. On paper, they have provided another compelling reason. The miserly Dogs lead the competition for the least missed tackles (114) – albeit just ahead of the Rabbitohs (123). But it seems the Dogs’ tenacity and the unavailability of South Sydney forwards George Burgess and Ben Te’o (tripping ban) might prove too much for the Rabbitohs.
Key: Sam Burgess. The Rabbitohs’ forward has already impressed by leading the competition for metres gained (181m average per game) but will need to find another gear to make up for the absence of his brother and Te’o.
RABBITOHS: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Walker, Kirisome Auva’a, Bryson Goodwin, Josh Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Dave Tyrell, Apisai Koroisau, Luke Burgess, Kyle Turner, Chris McQueen, Sam Burgess. Interchange: Cameron McInnes, Ben Lowe, Jason Clark, Joe Picker.
BULLDOGS: Sam Perrett, Corey Thompson, Josh Morris, Tim Lafai, Mitch Brown, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (capt), James Graham, Josh Jackson, Tony Williams, Dale Finucane. Interchange: Greg Eastwood, Tim Browne, David Klemmer, Sam Kasiano.
Hello, league fans. Welcome to round seven of the NRL season. ANZ Stadium co-tennants South Sydney and Canterbury are in action today. In the one change to the Bulldogs side, Sam Kasiano is back for the Bulldogs. Pat O’Hanlon is the man to drop off the bench for the Dogs.
The game hasn’t started and Des Hasler already looks unhappy. Maybe they were out of Bertie Beetle showbags when he visited the Royal Easter Show on the way to the game today. You can’t blame him. In other news, there is a great crowd on hand.
Both teams are on the field. You can’t help but feel a little bit excited about this game. Two good teams. Ideal weather conditions and a great crowd.
Souths were looking good on their first set, running the ball on the last. They seemed to have little trouble making ground in the middle of the field.
Souths kick off and we are underway.
5th minute: After a penalty got the Rabbitohs into a great attacking position, Sam Burgess made a handling error with the Rabbitohs pressing the Dogs line.
6th minute: Canterbury get bailed out with a penalty of their own. Now it is their turn to attack. It will be interesting to see if they can get their big men running at Souths No.7 Adam Reynolds.
8th minute: Another pressure-relieving penalty for the Dogs. It eventually goes out, but only after being touched by Nathan Merritt. Dogs on the attack. James Graham really looks to be in the mood today.
10th minute: Video ref time. Have the Dogs scored? They look to have scored, and the onfield ruling is try.
NO TRY. The try was denied due to the video ref ruling an obstruction play. Dessie’sd day is getting worse. First no Bertie Beetles. Now his side has been denied a try.
12th minute: Tim Lafai. What’s going on there? A simple dropped ball has given the Rabbitohs a great chance to attack.
The Rabbitohs come close but an errant pass costs them a try. A lucky escape for the Dogs. Both teams have looked dangerous in attack thus far.
Great crowd for today’s clash with @SSFCRABBITOHSpic.twitter爱杭州同城论坛m/gI4J1LKLMs— NRL Bulldogs (@NRL_Bulldogs) April 18, 2014
SPOILER ALERT. Parents, those with friends and Easter Egg lovers in general. At half time we will reveal the must-have Easter goodie for all league fans. It is pretty good, and cheap.
18th minute: On the field, the Rabbitohs have stretched the Dogs to near breaking point again but failed to come up with a try. John Sutton’s long run downfield ended with another poor play on the last.
20th minute: James Graham and Michael Ennis are both struggling after a head clash. Both men and bleeding but Graham is staying on the field. What else do you expect?
21st minute: The Dogs escape again. This time they get a kick away on the last but Nathan Merritt leapt too early and cost his team a try. Surely the Dogs can’t keep getting away with this.
Sam Kasiano is on for the Dogs. Just in case anyone was wondering, he remains one massive human.
Poor last tackle plays are hurting both sides. The Rabbitohs have been the worst culprits, but this time it is the Dogs who fail to get a kick away. Composure gentlemen, composure.
Another lucky escape for the Dogs. A ridiculous Tony Williams pass was knocked on by Souths forward Ben Lowe. How Souths haven’t scored yet is a mystery.
The ferocity of this game is starting to be felt. Michael Ennis is getting stitches in his head, Apisai Koroisau has a should injury and now Joe Picker is down for the count. Picker is being assisted from the field with what appears a chest or sternum injury. Luke Burgess is the only fit man on the bench for Souths.
33rd minute: A scrambling play ends with Souths penalised for obstruction. The Dogs have defended very well on their own line. If they can keep that up and the Rabbitohs’ injury plight is as bad as it seems, Michael Maguire’s men may be in for a long second half. Souths 2-0
For any Sharks fans reading, finally some good news. Adrian Proszenko reports that Paul Gallen may make an early comeback from injury to play against the Roosters tomorrow. Read the story here.
35th minute: Dogs lock Dale Finucane placed on report for a lifting tackle. No injuries of any kind but you simply can’t tackle like that anymore.
36th minute: Souths finally score. Souths isolate Trent Hodkinson in defence and Sam Burgess charges at him. Hodkinson goes low but Burgess is simply too big. His third try of the season.Adam Reynolds converts. Souths 8-0
38th minute: James Graham didn’t miss Dave Tyrrell. What a hit. Tyrrell taken off the field. He is struggling. Graham on the other hand, he loves it.
30th minute: This game is heating up. Sam Kasiano started it with an impressive charge. Both sides are ratcheting up their defence. Another penalty helps the Rabbitohs. And there’s another one. Souths take the two points and lead 2-0. Adam Reynolds makes no mistake with an easy shot at goal.
In further injury news for the Rabbitohs, Kyle Turner won’t be back after undergoing a concussion test. Dave Tyrrell will also be struggling to come back on on the evidence presented as he was taken off.
That’s halftime. Souths lead 8-0 in a brutal clash. South deserve their lead but are facing a tough second half with a mounting injury toll. The Dogs are far behind but need to stop giving away cheap penalties and improve their ball security. If they do that they can still win this game.
OK. While the teams take a breather and assess the health of their players, it’s Easter Egg time. The official egg of the NRL is back again this year, and boy is it a beauty. There isn’t a lot to it, just a football-shape mass of chocolate. But wait, there’s more. On the outside of the box is a sheet with all 16 NRL teams and room cut out ladder. Talk about value adding. At a bargain-basement price of $10 it can’t be beat.
Warning: there is also an AFL Easter egg available that looks extremely similar. Don’t buy that one, the chocolate isn’t as good.