SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10: Josh Jackson of the Bulldogs and team mates looks dejected after a Dragons try during the round 13 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the St George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on June 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The inequitable NRL draw is news to no one. Without true home and away play where teams face each other twice at their respective home venues, it will always remain so.

Statistically, equity is impossible. A 30-week competition with a required pause in June/July for the State of Origin series would see the season stretch well into November.

Thus, teams currently play each other once and face nine opposition clubs on two separate occasions. Exactly who those nine opponents are can shape a season.

In 2019, the crapshoot that is the NRL draw is already playing a key role in the fortunes of clubs and it can work in a number of different ways.

The Bulldogs are imploding. Despite wins against the Wests Tigers, Cowboys and Titans, their season is starting to take on a rather ominous look with a series of challenging matches looming.

For a club in rebuild; attempting to recover from salary cap mismanagement and with an inexperienced coach trying to sap every last bit of talent and effort from his young squad, a cushy draw would have been helpful.

Sadly for the blue and whites, they received anything but. Of course, one is not to know that prior to the season, with all clubs starting from base camp.

However, by mid-season, the contenders, pretenders and flat out battlers are as plain to see as the nose on your face. Just in case you haven’t noticed, the Bulldogs are confirmed battlers in season 2019.

To further enunciate their situation, the NRL has matched them up against the Storm, Roosters, Bunnies and Knights on two separate occasions in 2019.

Their season looked challenging enough yet having to then face four of the current top five teams on two separate occasions gives them less than a hope in Hades.

It potentially makes little difference to the Bulldogs themselves in the big scheme of things; they are no chance of seeing September action and were wooden spoon favourites as soon as markets opened many months back.

However, their draw is making a considerable difference to the competition, with all clubs going into a match against Dean Pay’s men fairly confident of victory.

Those with the luxury of doing that on two occasions are rubbing their hands with glee.

St George-Illawarra, another side blessed with a pairing of match-ups against the Dogs, have already parlayed their fortune.

The Dragons annihilated the Bulldogs 40-4 at Kogarah in Round 5 before repeating the dose on Monday in the traditional Queen’s Birthday match at ANZ Stadium. The two wins convert to a 76-16 overall drubbing and it does wonders for the Red V’s confidence and their for-and-against record.

Despite sitting at -42 in that statistical category, the Dragons are well and truly entrenched in the fight for a spot inside the eight; now shading the Tigers and Cowboys on for-and-against and within touching distance of the Broncos and Eels.

Of course, they won’t be the only beneficiaries of the hapless Dogs. The Storm has already taken four competition points from their two clashes. The Broncos, Knights, Bunnies and Eels will have the return fixture circled on their calendars; knowing full well that the two points should be assured, whilst the Roosters have two matches against the Bulldogs to look forward to, starting this week at the SCG.

After three consecutive losses, talk of the Roosters putting up a cricket score at such an appropriate venue is a little unfounded. However, the Tri-colours will most likely use the match to make a statement, regain some form and get their season back on track.

A match against the NRL’s weakest opposition comes at the absolute perfect time for the chooks. Should they win and win well, they will not be the first team played back into form by the Bulldogs.

Let’s not forget that Monday’s public holiday clash saw the Dragons use the Dogs as a springboard to find some much-needed form after five poor losses. Just a week earlier, the Raiders did the same.

After consecutive losses to the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Cowboys, the green machine limped over the line by 12-10 at ANZ Stadium to also recapture their winning ways.

It seems the Bulldogs have something of a skill for playing teams back into form. Should it happen for the fourth time in as many weeks, the Sharks, Knights, Broncos and Roosters will already be queuing up as Canterbury’s next four opponents.

The Bulldogs score just 12.6 points per game and concede 23.0. They have the worst defence and the worst attack in the competition.

How enjoyable for those afforded the opportunity of playing them twice? Conversely, Canterbury fans are not enjoying the NRL draw nor the season one little bit.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Kick a team whilst its down lol

    I get the dogs don’t have the best squad but I personally believe Dean Pay needs to step down People say not even Bellamy can do better with the current cattle but I don’t believe that. Pay has not picked the best available team all season. How Adam Elliot continue to be picked in this team who is not only not up to first grade standard but is ineffective in attack and defence and then we have the defensive issues of Montoya, I think its time Dean pay has to go.

    DWZ is currently the best fullback now at the club and he plays center.

    If you ask what other options does the club have well that’s an easy answer

    JJ needs to go to lock Martin on the left edge CHN on the right edge
    DWZ to fullback and try Meaney on the wing
    Right Centre Morgan Harper
    JMK is ineffective at hooker even though he had his best game. Nu Brown really needs to be given a go
    Ogden needs to Start with Tolman to the bench To’Omoga needs a run as well
    And Finally Lewis needs to come back into the halves when fit again

    it’s not hard. But if we keep on putting this rubbish team out we will play all other 15 teams into form .

    We wont win the comp but a new coach who can coach can avoid the dogs from getting a spoon

    • I agree with ya about Elliot he hurts the dogs every game with his runs & drop balls needs to go as for the squad it should be like this
      1.meaney
      2.dwz
      3.harper
      4.hoppa
      5.smith
      6.foran
      7.lewis
      8.napa
      9.brown
      10.tolman
      11.jackson
      12.chn
      13.rfm
      Bench
      14.martin
      15.ogden
      16.sue
      17.tomooga

      That won’t win much but it at least will put up a fight in games

    • If your good enough then it doesn’t matter, if your not well your not going to get anywhere anyway.

  2. Stuart, have you had a visit from the RSPCA yet, because that headline’s just cruel? Funny, but a tad harsh.

  3. They get a roosters team this weekend without Tedesco and Cordner. If it’s anytime you want the roosters it’s now

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