16/04/2024

(Photo: nrl.com)

The Bulldogs are desperate to move off the bottom of the ladder as they face a depleted Penrith Panthers team on Friday night.

The Bulldogs are desperate to move off the bottom of the ladder as they face a depleted Penrith Panthers team on Friday night. Coming into the coaching position two weeks ago Mick Potter will hope to secure his first win. With only two wins so far this year the Bulldogs are not only fighting for their lives but their loyal fans.

The Bulldogs currently sit at the bottom of the ladder with two wins against the Cowboys in Round 1 and the Roosters in Round 8. Starting the year with Trent Barrett as coach they did not get the start they were hoping for. Due to the disappointing losses, Michael Potter came into the coaching job after Barrett stood down.

“We are fighting for our lives,” Potter said.

The Bulldogs put on a positive display against the ninth-placed Dragons last week after a loss to the Tigers. They were able to put 24 points on the board but conceded 34 points.

This week they will be hoping to let fewer points in, having conceded 70 points in the last two weeks. They have continually shown how strong they are in attack but have failed to follow it up in defence.

Michael Potter is hoping to secure his first win for the Doggies (Photo: bulldogs.com.au)

Trying to secure his first win as coach, Potter is slowly settling into the club. After having two weeks to adjust to the squad, Potter needs a win so the pressure doesn’t mount on him.

“It was a little bit daunting the first few days but I think I’ve settled in. I’m feeling a bit more comfortable but the job doesn’t get easier,” he said.

This week they face the Panthers who have lost six players to Origin. Due to this, they are calling up players from the New South Wales Cup for the clash. Their reserves are also currently sitting first and have a 192 point difference when it comes to for and against.

“I know their reserves are pretty good and they’ve got some quality players there. They’re going to be tough regardless,” Potter said.

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Robert Jennings and Charlie Staines will be replacing Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o in the backline. After playing games earlier in the year at halfback due to Nathan Cleary’s injury, Sean O’Sullivan is back in the team.

Assisting him at five-eighth is Kurt Falls who will be replacing Jarome Luai. The Panthers also lose Isaah Yeo and Liam Martin in the forward line with Chris Smith and Matthew Eisenhuth coming in at second-row and lock respectively. The majority of their team will stay the same and include quality players like Taylan May, Apisai Koroisau and Viliame Kikau.

“The players still left in the team are quality first-grade players,” Potter said.

The Bulldogs will remain unchanged apart from Ava Seumanufagai coming back onto the bench. After spending money in the off-season to rejuvenate the team, their star players have failed to fire. These players include backs Matt Dufty, Josh Addo-Carr and former Panther Matt Burton. With most of the Penrith backline out, Potter is hoping these players can live up to their expectations.

“We have to rise to the occasion. It’s out there at Penrith and they’re really hard to beat with the home crowd behind them,” Potter said.

Star player Josh Addo-Carr will be hoping to have a great game after not being selected for the NSW Blues for State of Origin. Addo-Carr has been a regular in the Blues line-up playing for the Storm but has failed to deliver for the Dogs this season.

“I’m disappointed for him but you’re only as good as your last game and let’s see if he can prove he’s a good State of Origin player,” Potter said.

Addo-Carr has shown glimpses of brilliance in the blue and white but needs to have solid repeat performances. He will be hoping to prove to selectors that he deserves a spot in the team for the next State of Origin game.

“He is a quality player and makes our team better. You can sense the disappointment but he’s upbeat and I think he’ll have a point to prove,” Potter said.

Matt Burton will be facing his former club for the first time (Photo: nrl.com)

This game will be the first time Matt Burton plays against his old team. Playing for the Panthers as a centre he has settled into the five-eighth position for the Dogs. Burton has been up and down this season not showing off his full potential.

Against his former team, home ground and fans he will be hoping to have a big game. He will be hoping to show them that they made a mistake letting him go to Canterbury and not re-signing him.

“Matt will appreciate the event and being back there. I think he might get a little stick from the crowd but that’s expected and that’s all part of the game,” Potter said.

“He will want to have a big game, I’m sure.”

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