Huge halves contest for dogs against the storm
If Canterbury are to pull off a huge upset and roll the Melbourne Storm away from home on Sunday, the NRL’s new halves duo may have to establish themselves as the best in the competition.
The Bulldogs will persist with Brandon Wakeham joining Matt Burton after beating Manly in a 13-12 loss last weekend.
But matching him against Cameron Munster and Jahrome Hughes is a whole new challenge.
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Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett says game management was a problem for his emerging side in the narrow loss to the Sea Eagles, where Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans scored a 76th-minute basket winner .
“We haven’t been to too many of these games in recent years, so we’re going to find ourselves in more of them,” he said.
“It is important that we learn from this, we know that our halves are young, the more they are put in these situations, the more they will have a clearer idea of what is needed.
“‘Wakey’ was good, he started the game very well and came on a couple of our tries.
“(Burton) is a dozen games into his six-year career…the more situations ‘Burto’ is put in, the better he will be.”
For the Storm (2-1), who have been heading for the golden point for consecutive weeks, coach Craig Bellamy challenged his team to bring intensity for 80 minutes for the first time this season.
“Fans like to go to overtime, I’m not sure both teams do… going two weeks in a row was quite different,” he told reporters.
“We had chances last week to freeze the game… we were in a good position to get better positions.
“We have things to work on… when we get a little bit of rhythm we looked good, but we just can’t keep up that rhythm with the ball.”
And Bellamy warned his team that anything less than maximum effort could see them come unstuck against the new-look Bulldogs, who have been anything but competitive despite going 1-2.
The contest also brings former Storm superstar winger Josh Addo-Carr back to town for the first time since his off-season transition to Canterbury.
“There are definitely a lot of new players there, they’ve recruited a lot in the offseason and I think you’re seeing the results of that to be quite honest,” Bellamy said.
“They only won one but were very unlucky last week against Manly and were beaten by a point.
“Their defense is really what’s improved from what they were doing last year and some of the guys that have come up to them have made a real difference.”