Two teams on opposite ends of the form scale will round out a great weekend of footy.
The Bulldogs are staring down the barrel of four straight defeats for the first time this season while the Panthers are looking to register a season high three consecutive victories.
Canterbury were brave but ultimately lost a slogfest to Cronulla 9-8 at Shark Park last week while Penrith will be fresh after having the week off but prior to that, they overhauled a brave Newcastle to win 30-20.
Lack of creativity has killed the Bulldogs this season.
Their attack has been heavily criticised, and rightly so, after scoring just 178 points through 12 rounds which puts them second last in the competition only in front of the Wests Tigers in that category.
A bigger problem for them is the fact Josh Reynolds is missing which puts more pressure on Moses Mbye and new halves partner Matt Frawley.
The one thing that has been keeping them in matches this season is their defence which is ranked sixth in the NRL. Only the top five sides in the comp have conceded less points.
ON THE UP?
Penrith are starting to find their feet but is their form as good as it suggests?
Their recent wins have been ‘that’ comeback against the Warriors and then a grinding 30-20 effort against the Knights. Those two sides are hardly in spectacular form at the moment.
A determined Bulldogs outfit will sort out just how good the Panthers are traveling at the moment.
CANTERBURY has dominated this fixture over the years by winning 51 of 90 matches against the Mountain Men.
In more recent times the Blue and Whites have captured three of the past five between the sides but lost their previous encounter going back to the Quarter Finals of last season.
On that occasion, Penrith ran out convincing 28-12 winners and were riding the crest of a winning wave while the Bulldogs had limped into the finals. You could say that both sides are in a similar position once again here.
For margin players there is an interesting stat that sees nine of the past 14 games between them decided by eight points or less. A Canterbury win by 1-6 points is returning a juicy $5 with Sportsbet.
While this seems like a difficult one on paper we are backing the Bulldogs ($2.22 @ Unibet) with a bit of confidence.
Their best form has clearly been at home where they are 4-3 this season and that gives them extra marks considering Penrith’s disgraceful record at ANZ Stadium, which reads just two wins from their past 13 games.
Add to that they’ve lost Bryce Cartwright for an extended period due to injury while hooker Peter Wallace is also out which paves the way for Mitch Rein to get his first game for the Panthers since moving from Stgeorge Illawarra.
The Bulldogs are a tough outfit and stifle most good attacking teams and we think that will keep them in the hunt for a long way. The only concern Hasler will have is whether his three Origin stars (Brett Morris, David Klemmer and Josh Jackson) come through Wednesday unscathed.
CANTERBURY TO LEAD AT HALF TIME – Penrith has trailed at the break in their past five games