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Canterbury Bankstown is one of the National Rugby League’s form teams and it is definitely over its true odds to get the better of Brisbane in Thursday’s Round 23 match.
One would not want to watch Canterbury Bankstown play week in, week out because its brand of rugby league is all about making hard yards up the middle of the pitch. It says a lot about Canterbury Bankstown that its most skillful player is Sam Kasiano, a big bopper with a delicate pair of hands who has the ability of offload the ball after making a bustling run. Kasiano has far more playmaking ability than both Josh Reynolds and Moses Mbye, Canterbury Bankstown’s halves.
But Canterbury Bankstown boss Des Hasler knows what it takes to win not only National Rugby League games but also NRL premierships. Hasler won two titles as a player before he coached the club with which he enjoyed his major successes, Manly Warringah, to a couple of championships. Hasler has led Canterbury Bankstown since the beginning of the 2012 National Rugby League season and, in what shapes as being one of the most open competitions in living memory, he has a genuine shot at bringing the ultimate prize to the Bulldogs.
Canterbury Bankstown has been victorious in seven of its last eight National Rugby League games, including a Round 16 home win over Brisbane in which the Bulldogs humiliated the Broncos. Canterbury Bankstown flyer Brett Morris scored a hat-trick of tries but he was not the star of the show in his side’s 40-14 success. Canterbury Bankstown’s big men monstered their Brisbane counterparts, with James Graham and Aiden Tolman each running for more than 200 metres and four other Bulldogs forwards getting into triple figures also.
Brisbane fans will argue that their team had five players backing up from State of Origin II three nights earlier and young centre Tom Opacic limped off after 24 minutes. But Canterbury Bankstown really only used 16 of its 17 players – replacement hooker Craig Garvey featured for just five minutes – and the Bulldogs were so dominant. There is a school of thought that Brisbane is softer around the ruck than in previous National Rugby League campaigns and one subscribes to that viewpoint. Canterbury Bankstown is the National Rugby League side that is best equipped to make a mess of a team that does not have a solid middle third and one is backing the Bulldogs to do a job on Brisbane again.
SkyBet is offering odds of +200 about Canterbury Bankstown beating Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium. Canterbury Bankstown’s support base is such that the Bulldogs will receive decent backing in Brisbane – there will be several thousands Dogs supporters in the ground – and the Broncos have not been playing at all well. Brisbane has not defeated a genuine National Rugby League title contender since it held to beat Canberra 26-18 at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday 9 June. One is far from convinced that Brisbane is back in business after it ran away from Parramatta in the second half of their National Rugby League Round 23 match to prevail 38-16.
Canterbury Bankstown fought back from a 6-10 half-time deficit to defeat Brisbane 18-16 at Suncorp Stadium in Round 22 of last term’s National Rugby League. David Klemmer ran roughshod over his Brisbane opponents in an outstanding, 45-minute power performance off the interchange bench.
Canterbury Bankstown to beat Brisbane
Thursday 18th August, 10:50 GMT
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