We’re now only a few hours away from the Bulldogs vs. Roosters game which will kick off round 15 of the Telstra Premiership. The Roosters have been flying high all season and after a slow start the Dogs have won 7 of their last 8 games.
As well as being Friday Night footy and a game between two rivals, this game will see the return of Sonny Bill Williams to the Bulldog’s home ground since he walked out on them over 5 years ago. I for one thought this day would bring with it a lot more hype and excitement than it is.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the game. It should be a beauty but the game is a victim of circumstance.
First up both sides are without their Origin stars. For the Dogs they lose strike centre Josh Morris, whilst the Roosters lose both their starting halves. This certainly won’t ruin the game however it will lead to a drop in star power. The fact the game falls on an Origin weekend means the build-up has been lost in favour of building up the biggest Origin in recent memory.
Secondly, the Roosters ran riot against the Dogs earlier in the season in a game dominated by SBW. That result may have taken the sting out of the rematch. For the Dogs to truly extract revenge they’ll have to win 40-0.
I for one believe the first Dogs vs. Roosters game should have been a Dogs home game to capitalise fully on hostilities between Dogs fans and the man who walked out on them. Instead of promoting it as a chance to show their distain towards the player, now it’s “come and boo the bloke who led his club to a 38-0 win over us earlier in the season”.
The fact Sonny Bill pulled up “lame” after training yesterday has a lot of people speculating he will use this as an excuse to sit this game out. If Sonny is truly injured, why would the Roosters risk him? What do they have to gain from the situation if he’s carrying a niggle? Sure I want to see Sonny run out tonight but if I were a Rooster’s fan I’d want him wrapped in cotton wool too.
Most importantly however I believe most Dog’s fans have either forgiven him or don’t care anymore. A long time has passed since he walked out on their club, he has matured both as a footballer and a person and a lot of Dog’s fans seem to have moved on, begrudgingly accepting Sonny’s actions were disrespectful but not the end of the world walk out it seemed at the time.
I don’t think a single member of the Dog’s side that was present when SBW walked out on the club remains tonight. Over the 5 yeas the Dogs have completely transformed their side,
their management and their image. It’s a completely different club now and a lot of the hate went out with the past image the club once had.
I fully expect the Bulldog army to be out in big numbers tonight to show they still don’t exactly love Sonny Bill Williams but it will not be the full house I expected when I heard SBW was returning to league.
On twitter today nearly everyone was talking about Game 7 of the NBA finals. A few people were still talking about the Socceroos win on Tuesday night, but there was not much talk of tonight’s so called “Blockbuster” game. The Bulldogs twitter account is trying to promote payback but given the fact it’s a cold Friday night and Sonny may or may not play, added to the fact Origin 2 is on Wednesday night, well it just doesn’t come across as the hottest ticket in town clash I think most people were expecting.
Good luck to both teams, I hope they get 50,000+ and we get a cracker of a game.
Tip: Dogs by 8
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