Warriors v Bulldogs: CNK, Ford named to return; Same 17 for Ciraldo

The Warriors and Bulldogs are proof of how much can change over an off-season, and after disappointing campaigns last year they meet on Sunday with each having the chance to finish the first month with a 3-1 record.

Canterbury haven't done that since way back in 2016, while for the Warriors it was 2018, and in both cases it marked the last time either club made the finals. 

The Warriors were impressive in a 26-12 victory over the Cowboys in the Townsville heat in Round 3, holding North Queensland scoreless from the 14th minute onwards and completing 19 of 23 sets in the second half. 

Led by a strong showing from five-eighth Te Maire Martin, the Warriors made seven line breaks in what was their first win in Australia since April 2022, while off the ball they allowed the Cowboys to break their line just once. 

Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo meanwhile will have mixed feelings after last week's 26-22 victory over the Wests Tigers, as he watched his side power to a comfortable lead before a late collapse saw them almost throw it all away. 

Led by hooker Reed Mahoney, there were a number of individual standouts for the Dogs, and with Matt Burton finding his running mojo their attack goes to a new level. 

The Bulldogs have hated trips to New Zealand in recent times and are without a win across the Tasman since 2014, while the Warriors have won the last four head-to-head meetings between them. 

Team News
Warriors: Fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is back from a head knock so youngster Taine Tuaupiki goes to the reserves list. Forward Jackson Ford also returns from a head knock and slots into the second row. Hooker Wayde Egan is out with a head knock, replaced in the starting side by Freddy Lussick. Back-rower Mitch Barnett has been sidelined by a neck injury. No changes in Saturday's 24-hour update with Ronald Volkman, Rocco Berry and Demitric Sifakula the three players omitted and set to line up in NSW Cup.

Bulldogs: Coach Cameron Ciraldo has the luxury of naming the same 17 that got the job done against Wests Tigers. Tevita Pangai Junior dropped out of the squad on Saturday and remains a week away from returning from his calf injury. Josh Reynolds is once again named as 18th Man with Jackson Topine also in the squad. Braidon Burns, Karl Oloapu and Kurtis Morrin were omitted 24 hours before kick-off and will shift into the NSW Cup side to face the Warriors.

Stat Attack

  • Discipline has been an issue for both sides, with the Warriors sitting equal first for penalties conceded, averaging 7.7 per game, and the Bulldogs equal second averaging 7.3 per game. 
  • No halves pairing has been better at setting up line breaks in 2023 than Warriors duo Te Maire Martin and Shaun Johnson. Martin has five line break assists and Johnson has five line break involvements, both of which are competition high numbers in those categories. 
  • The Warriors have won their past four games against the Bulldogs.
  • The Bulldogs have not won at Mt Smart Stadium since 2011.
  • Warriors winger Edward Kosi has scored five tries in three games at Mt Smart Stadium.
  • Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr has scored 19 tries from his past 21 games.
  • Warriors second-rower Marata Niukore will make his 100th NRL appearance.

Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.