THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Cronulla Sharks
2.00pm at ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs $1.40, Sharks $2.85
Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Steve Turner, Josh Morris, Tim Lafai, Michael Lett, Ben Roberts, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, Greg Eastwood, Frank Pritchard, Andrew Ryan (c), David Stagg. Interchange: Sam Kasiano, Grant Millington, Corey Payne, Dene Halatau, Michael Hodgson.
Sharks: Nathan Gardner, Matthew Wright, Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, Isaac Gordon, Wade Graham, Chad Townsend, Kade Snowden, John Morris, Luke Douglas, Jeremy Smith, Jayson Bukuya, Paul Gallen (c). Interchange (from): Anthony Tupou, Taulima Tautai, Stuart Flanagan, Josh Cordoba, Sam Tagataese.
Chris Keating shifts to halfback for this game and Ben Roberts comes into 5/8th for his second game this season and his first game in the starting line up. These shifts are due to regular No. 7 Trent Hodkinson serving the second week of his suspension. Paul Gallen is likely to back up from his stellar State of Origin performance on Wednesday for the Sharks.
The Bulldogs were beaten soundly in their last game 2 weeks ago against the Sea Eagles and will be fired up and ready to bounce back in the best possible fashion. The Sharks have lost 8 of their last 9 games and this could be the pivotal game of their season. It’s do or die.
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Wests Tigers v Melbourne Storm
3.00pm at Leichhardt Oval
Tigers $1.70, Storm $2.10
Tigers: Wade McKinnon, Beau Ryan, Blake Ayshford, Tim Moltzen, Mitch Brown, Benji Marshall, Robert Lui, Bryce Gibbs, Robbie Farah (c), Keith Galloway, Simon Dwyer, Gareth Ellis, Chris Heighington. Interchange: Tim Simona, Liam Fulton, Aaron Woods, Andrew Fifita.
Storm: Billy Slater, Matt Duffie, Dane Nielsen, Maurice Blair, Anthony Quinn, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (c), Bryan Norrie, Adam Blair, Kevin Proctor, Todd Lowrie. Interchange (from): Ryan Hinchcliffe, Sika Manu, Adam Woolnough, Jaiman Lowe, Justin O’Neill, Rory Kostjasyn, Beau Champion, Sisa Waqa.
The Tigers go into this one as favourites thanks to having the home crowd advantage and taking on a Storm side that has 4 players backing up from Wednesday night’s State of Origin match.
The Tigers had a problem of sorts through the week when they were stranded in New Zealand for 3 days following their come from behind jail break against the Warriors last week. The Tiger’s are quickly building a reputation for winning games at the death and escaping with the 2 points. They’ve made match winning comebacks in 3 of their last 4 games, and the one match they lost was only by 6 points where they almost did their escape act against the Dragons.
Melbourne Storm have played 7 times at Leichardt for only one win.
Mike’s Best Bet: None