Canterbury Bankstown has lost four Australian National Rugby League matches on the spin but the under-fire Bulldogs are well over the odds to bounce back to winning ways with a defeat of St George Illawarra at ANZ Stadium on Monday.
One is not positioning Canterbury Bankstown as a legitimate Australian National Rugby League title contender because the Bulldogs have one of the competition’s least potent attacks. Only Wests Tigers is averaging fewer tries per Australian National Rugby League game than Canterbury Bankstown and none of the other 15 teams has a lower line breaks mean than the Bulldogs. Canterbury Bankstown supporters are calling for the heads of Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib and coach Des Hasler, who led the Sydney side to the top of the Australian National Rugby League ladder in 2012 but not premiership glory. The natives are restless and they want a scalp.
Canterbury Bankstown is 14th on the Australian National Rugby League ladder with a 5-0-8 record compared to the 8-0-4 numbers of third-placed St George Illawarra. But one is convinced that both Canterbury Bankstown and St George Illawarra are in false positions on the ladder even though the Australian National Rugby League is halfway through.
There is no escaping the fact that Canterbury Bankstown was horrible in its 0-38 Australian National Rugby League loss to Penrith last time out but the Bulldogs were without so many of its star players, including Brett Morris, James Graham and Josh Reynolds, plus Josh Jackson and David Klemmer faced the Panthers after State of Origin I.
Canterbury Bankstown players arranged an impromptu meeting on Monday in a bid to salvage their Australian National Rugby League campaign before its too late and the Bulldogs have a history of winning against the odds when their backs are against the wall. And it is not as though Canterbury Bankstown has a poor record versus St George Illawarra.
Actually, Canterbury Bankstown matches up extremely well against St George Illawarra. Canterbury Bankstown and St George Illawarra have locked horns 10 times since Hasler joined the former from Manly Warringah and the Bulldogs have won nine of those Australian National Rugby League matches, eight of which have taken place at ANZ Stadium. Last year, Canterbury Bankstown beat St George Illawarra 36-14 and 13-10 in two Australian National Rugby League games that happened in the depths of winter, Reynolds crossing the white line for a Bulldogs try in both matches.
Man for man, one thinks that Canterbury Bankstown and St George Illawarra are remarkably similar across both the backs and the forwards. Given the Australian National Rugby League head-to-head record between Canterbury Bankstown and St George Illawarra, the former’s home advantage and the Bulldogs appearing to have drawn a line in the sand, one cannot understand why 32Red, 888Sport and Unibet are accepting bets at odds of +185 about Hasler’s men.
Last week’s article highlighted Geelong as being overpriced to win its Australian Football League home game versus an Adelaide team that had not earned its stripes. Geelong did the business – never were the Cats under serious pressure – and, while one does not expect Canterbury Bankstown to blow away St George Illawarra, one does think that the Bulldogs should be around even money to post its first Australian National Rugby League win since defeating Canberra 16-10.
Canterbury Bulldogs to beat St George Illawarra Dragons
Monday 12th June, 07:00 GMT