We get the sense that points could be hard to come by at Belmore.
With the two worst attacking teams going head-to-head at the boutique venue it may come down to a few points to see who claims the victory.
Canterbury has the worst attack in the NRL and are averaging just 13.75 points per game while the Knights are just in front of them with 16.6ppg.
Attack has been a big problem for both sides but in Newcastle’s case the defence has also been leaking some serious points of late, which is something we weren’t seeing all that often at the start of 2017.
The Knights were flat and disappointing in the 33-12 loss to the Tigers at Hunter Stadium in a defeat that may consign them to the wooden spoon.
Canterbury showed enough grit and determination in the second half against Parramatta to restore some pride, however, still couldn’t get the job done as they went down 13-12 in Golden Point.
You would think that returning to their spiritual home at Belmore that they Bulldogs would have made the ground into a fortress, however, you would be completely wrong.
Since returning to Belmore in 2015, CANTERBURY beat Melbourne by 16 points but since then have dropped the next four games against the Sharks, Raiders, Cowboys and Melbourne to give them a poor 1-4 record at the ground.
The Bulldogs are now in desperation mode and if they want to make the finals they simply cannot afford any more losses. Sitting on 14 competition points, Canterbury would make the top eight if they won all nine remaining games but it has to start now.
With the bye next week this is shaping as a four-point game.
Des Hasler’s side have a difficult month after the week off with games against Brisbane, Penrith, Parramatta and Souths. If you fancy them making a big run in the final two months of the regular season then you can take $7.50 @ bet365 for them to Make Top 8.
NEWCASTLE could have realistically avoided a battle for the wooden spoon if the past fortnight had panned out differently.
They blew an 18-point lead against the Dragons and then were seriously flat against the Wests Tigers at home. Maybe the latter had something to do with the morale of the team after they were run down by the Red V at Kogarah?
Either way they may be headed for another wooden spoon but they have shown enough talent this season to suggest they could give the Bulldogs a shake at their best.
The problem for them heading to Belmore is that they are the only team in the competition yet to win away from home (0-8).
CANTERBURY are shooting for a bit of history here.
They are aiming for five straight wins over the Knights for the first time in club history and the last three of those wins have all been in the Hunter.
With both sides struggling to score points, a 1-12 winning margin in favour of the Dogs could offer up a bit of value as they have beaten the Knights by an average of 7.5ppg in their past four clashes.
We are willing to give the Bulldogs the benefit of the doubt here.
We definitely don’t want to be taking the shorts about them though but then again they are playing the Knights so we can’t expect too much.
Newcastle’s inabilities to win on the road (their only two wins this season have been at home) are a definite advantage for the Bulldogs who may smell a bit of blood in the water.
They weren’t too bad against Parramatta but they had ample opportunity to win that game in the second half. Heading into this match they are also without Brett Morris, Josh Jackson and Dave Klemmer due to Origin which will be a big blow.
Newcastle are without Dane Gagai who is in Queensland Origin camp but overall we think the Dogs are a better side than Newcastle and will pick up a valuable two competition points.
CANTERBURY 1-12 WINNING MARGIN