NRL Warriors v Bulldogs: What you need to know

Warriors v Bulldogs

Kick-off: 5pm, Saturday 6th June

Accor Stadium, Sydney

Live blog updates on RNZ Sport

The Bulldogs know how to win. It might not be pretty, well organised, coherent or entertaining viewing for someone who isn’t a Doggies supporter, but it doesn’t matter.

After languishing near the bottom of the table for the better part of a decade they’ve finally found a formula that gets them wins on the board, you could almost go as far as calling them the ‘Warriors of 2024’ after knocking off the Sharks last weekend by virtue of a field goal.

But after the bloodbath of two weeks ago, and off the back of a scrappy victory of their own, the real Warriors will be looking to give the Bulldogs a wakeup call and somehow find themselves knocking on the door of the top eight for the first time this season.

It’s clear that this year might just be one of the most tightly contested NRL seasons ever, it’s difficult to get a read on how any particular club is tracking with upsets happening left right and centre. On their day the bottom ranked team is more than capable of defeating the one at the top. Positions 13th through to fifth are separated by only three competition points.

Here’s a look at the teams:

Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Kolkstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Jackson Ford 11. Marata Niukore 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Tohu Harris (C)

Interchange: 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Dylan Walker 16. Jazz Tevaga 17. Kurt Capewell

Bulldogs: 1. Connor Tracey 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Blake Wilson 6. Matt Burton 7. Toby Sexton 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Samuel Hughes 11. Vilame Kikau 12. Jaeman Salmin 13. Bailey Hayward

Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Josh Curran 16. Kurtis Morrin 17. Lipoi Hopoi

Warriors selections

For probably one of the first times this season the Warriors find themselves naming an unchanged lineup from last week’s victory over the Broncos.

Bulldogs selections

Besides the bombs of Matt Burton another headache for the Warriors will be Connor Tracey at fullback, back after being stood down for a week due to concussion protocols with Jacob Kiraz moving to the wing. Blake Taaffe also finds himself back in the reserves with the return of Kurt Mann.

Past results

Warriors 24 – 12 Bulldogs

Warriors 16 – 14 Bulldogs

As the Bulldogs were finding their feet after years last season the fell victim to the Warriors resurgence in two closely contested low scoring matches early in the 2023 season. Former Warrior middle Josh Curran finds himself squaring up against his old club for the first time since moving to Canterbury Bankstown.

Prediction

If the Bulldogs pull it off, they’ll find themselves potentially sitting in the top four which would be nothing short of a miracle considering their form of recent years – and for the Warriors; a win will see them sitting inside of the top eight at some point over the next couple of weeks with a two point bye scheduled for them after Saturday’s game – a miracle in itself after the loss to the Titans a couple of weeks back.

With both clubs playing similar styles of footy both known for grinding victories out this game could potentially go right down to the wire. The Warriors should look to start hot like they have been often this season and then sustain that by not letting their foot off the gas and inviting teams back into the game – because if they do; the Bulldogs might just have their number.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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