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NRL: Warriors out to down Bulldogs

The New Zealand Warriors will look to continue their strong start to the season on Sunday afternoon when they entertain the Canterbury Bulldogs.

There are three games to look forward to as week four of the NRL comes to a close. Newcastle Knights are in action when they entertain Canberra Raiders, while the Dragons play the Sharks in Sydney. 

The entertainment gets underway with the Warriors out to make it three wins from four against a Bulldogs side that also have two wins to their name this season. 

Both sides will be looking to consolidate their place in the top eight so it could be a closely-fought battle in Auckland. All the other four teams in action on Sunday have won just one game this season and the pressure is already starting to mount despite it being very early days.

With kick-off fast approaching let’s take a closer look at each game.

What:New Zealand Warriors v Canterbury Bulldogs
Where:Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
When:14:00 (AEST) Sunday 26th March 2023
How to watch:Kayo, Foxtel
Odds:Warriors 1.77, Bulldogs 2.10

Many had the Warriors down to land the wooden spoon in the 2023 NRL campaign but they are so far proving the doubters wrong following a solid start.

They impressed with their 26-12 win away at the Cowboys last week and will be keen to back it up against the Bulldogs. Canterbury started the season with a defeat against Manly but have since bounced back with wins over the Melbourne Storm and Wests Tigers.

The Bulldogs are looking a different proposition under the leadership of new coach Cameron Ciraldo and they will be keen to keep the good times rolling by finishing the first month 3-1.

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There is good news on the injury front for the Warriors as both Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Jackson Ford have been given the all-clear to return from head knocks.

Wayde Egan is missing with concussion, while Mitch Barnett has a neck injury. The Bulldogs are able to name the same 17 that beat the Tigers last week as they attempt to pick up their first win in New Zealand since 2014.

New recruit Reed Mahoney has impressed so far and the Bulldogs will need him again on Sunday afternoon.

What:Newcastle Knights v Canberra Raiders
Where:McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
When:16:05 (AEST) Sunday 26th March 2023
How to watch:Kayo, Foxtel
Odds:Knights 2.80, Raiders 1.44

The Knights have carried on where they left off last season and have won just one game so far. That came away at the Wests Tigers in week two.

They lost at home to the Dolphins last week in front of over 20,000 supporters but now get the chance to make it up to the home support at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Canberra also have one win to their name but at least that came last week when they beat the Sharks 24-20 so they should take confidence into Sunday’s game. The Raiders have hopes of making the top eight this season so this is the kind of game they really need to win.

Newcastle have had to deal with a shocking injury list but there is some light at the end of the tunnel on that front. Jayden Brailey is back from a head knock, while Jack Johns has recovered from an ankle injury.

Kurt Mann will play at lock after overcoming a shoulder injury. The Raiders have also been handed a massive boost with the news prop Josh Papali’i will play his first game of the season following an ankle injury. Danny Levi is missing with a broken jaw.

What:St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks
Where:Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
When:18:15 (AEST) Sunday 26th March 2023
How to watch:Kayo, Foxtel
Odds:Dragons 2.60, Sharks 1.50

The Dragons have played just the two games this season and after starting the campaign with a tidy 32-18 win over the Gold Coast Titans, they came crashing back down to earth against Brisbane Broncos last week. 

Anthony Griffin’s side will need to bounce back but it will not be easy against a Sharks side that have had the edge in these games in recent years.

The Red V have been in great form at home though, winning four out of the last five so we could be in for a close game in this latest clash. Cronulla lost by four points against the Raiders last week, but had beaten Parramatta in round two. They will also be fired up to try and pick up the win.

The Dragons side will have a familiar look to it but they are boosted by the return of Toby Couchman. The rookie forward suffered a head knock in the win over the Titans but is now free to make his return.

Cronulla will be missing Braydon Trindall with an ankle injury but they will be delighted to select star halfback Nicho Hynes for the first time this season after he recovered from a calf injury.

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