THE LONG HARD LOOK WITH MIKE WILSON
NZ Warriors v Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
Mt. Smart Stadium, 8:30pm (NZ Time)
Warriors $1.50, Bulldogs $2.50
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Joel Moon, Shaun Berrigan, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Aaron Heremaia, Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Micheal Luck. Interchange (from): Lance Hohaia, Sam Rapira, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Steve Rapira.
Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Steve Turner, Josh Morris, Jamal Idris, Jonathon Wright, Kris Keating, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Dene Halatau, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Andrew Ryan (c), David Stagg. Interchange: Greg Eastwood, Martin Taupau, Gary Warburton, Ben Roberts
Kevin Moore……is no more. I mentioned at the start of the year in my season preview that I believed Kevin Moore had peaked as a coach so to see him quit the club doesn’t exactly blow me away. For the time being, former Canterbury player Jim Dymock steps in as caretaker coach.
Brett Seymour is still out for the Warriors but in my opinion this gives them another opportunity to field a better halves combination with exciting new halfback Shaun Johnson to join James Maloney for the 5th time this year. Maloney still rates highly with me and new kid on the block Johnson is electric in attack, both passing and running but if I were a Bulldogs ball runner I would be aiming right at him as he is still a bit green in defence.
It’s hard to say what frame of mind the Bulldogs players are in at the moment. Sure a lot of sides step up and perform great for a new coach but I don’t think too many of them really had a problem with Moore in the first place.
Again Ben Roberts has been named on the bench and it could be interesting to see what role he plays, but overall I’m never a fan of having halves on the bench.
The Dogs are going to have to be playing near their best to get in this contest on what looks set to be another cold and windy night in New Zealand, and they will also have to be near their best mentally.
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Starting Bank: $2000, Current Bank $2541.42
(Team lists sourced from nrl.com.au)