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Preview: Bulldogs v Broncos

Sportal August 9, 2012, 1:48 pm

'''VENUE & TIME:''' ANZ Stadium, Sunday, August 12, 3.00pm (AEST), 5.00pm (NZT)
'''COVERAGE:''' Channel nine/Sky Sport
'''HEAD TO HEAD''' Played 41, Broncos 23, Bulldogs 17, 1 draw

'''LAST TIME:''' Broncos 20 - Bulldogs 12 at Suncorp Stadium, Round 8, 2011

'''MISSING IN ACTION: '''

The Bulldogs are still missing gun prop Sam Kasiano with a fractured cheekbone, however half-back Kris Keating has been named to return from a hamstring injury.

The Broncos have lost Corey Parker and Alex Glenn to injuries suffered in last week's loss to the Raiders, although the return of centre Justin Hodges is a major boost.

'''FORM:'''

The Bulldogs are the form side in the NRL having won their past 10 matches, including a convincing 26-10 victory over a resurgent Newcastle last start. They are in the box seat to win the minor premiership, leading South Sydney by two points at the top of the ladder with four rounds to go.

The Broncos have dropped their past three matches to slide out of the top four and into the danger zone in seventh position. After a disastrous 42-22 loss to struggling Parramatta a fortnight ago, Anthony Griffin's men suffered another major setback with a 28-12 defeat to Canberra last start.

'''FOR BULLDOGS TO WIN:'''

Complacency will be the biggest obstacle for the Bulldogs this weekend. On recent form it's hard to imagine them losing a game ever again. They've got one of the best packs in the comp, a great backline ... oh, and did we mention Ben Barba?

'''FOR BRONCOS TO WIN:'''

Tackle, tackle, tackle. The Broncos have conceded 70 points in their last two outings against battlers Parramatta and Canberra. If they have the same lack of commitment on Sunday, they'll concede another 70 points against the potent Bulldogs attack.

'''WE THINK:'''

Some experts are starting to suggest the Bulldogs need a loss before the finals, while the Broncos desperately need a win this weekend if they want to be around in September. On form alone there's no logical argument to suggest the Broncos can beat the Bulldogs, but this is the NRL and anything can happen. The 'Dogs would have to be well off their game mentally to lose, and we seriously doubt coach Des Hasler will allow that to happen. '''Bulldogs''' by 16.

'''TEAMS'''
'''Bulldogs:'''
1.Ben Barba, 2. Sam Perrett, 3. Josh Morris, 4. Krisnan Inu, 5. Jonathan Wright, 6. Josh Reynolds, 7. Kris Keating, 8. Aiden Tolman, 9. Michael Ennis, 10. James Graham, 11. Frank Pritchard, 12. Josh Jackson, 13. Greg Eastwood.

Interchange: 14. Martin Taupau, 15. Dale Finucane, 16. Corey Payne, 17. David Stagg, 18. Joel Romelo

'''Broncos:'''
1. Josh Hoffman, 2. Gerard Beale, 3. Jack Reed, 4. Justin Hodges, 5. Lachlan Maranta, 6. Ben Hunt, 7. Peter Wallace, 8. Ben Hannant, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Petero Civoniceva, 11. Matt Gillett, 12. Sam Thaiday, 13. Ben Te'o

Interchange: 14. Corey Norman, 15. Josh McGuire, 16. Mitchell Dodds, 17. Dunamis Lui

Referees: Tony Archer, Gavin Badger
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead

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