Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Photo by Bulldogs Media
Heading into 2021 the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are arguably the team to watch, with a new coach in Trent Barrett and multiple high profile signings, we could see the Bulldogs return to the finals for the first time since 2016.
Below are the five Bulldogs games that you must tune into in 2021.
ROUND 2 – PENRITH PANTHERS
In the first “Battle of the West” Canterbury-Bankstown will be participating in this season, they go up against the defending minor premiers the Penrith Panthers.
While their last meeting was extremely one-sided, 2020’s runners up will prove a suitable litmus test for the new-look Bulldogs early in their campaign.
The Bulldogs will understandably head into this one the outsiders, but if they manage a win then fence-sitters may very well jump on the blue and white hype train.
ROUND 4 – SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Over the years the Good Friday clash between the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs has produced some tantalizing matchups taking place in front of one of the biggest crowds either club draws each season.
Neutral fans will be hoping for another classic while the Canterbury-Bankstown and South Sydney faithful will want a clear and decisive victory for their side.
Another reason to watch this game is the fact that the Rabbitohs are currently the third favourite team to win the premiership in 2021, making them another litmus test for the Bulldogs.
— Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (@NRL_Bulldogs) January 22, 2021
ROUND 8 – PARRAMATTA EELS
As many Rugby League fans know, the Bulldogs and Eels rivalry stems back to the 1980s where the two sides dominated the competition, and to this day they still draw a sizable crowd to their edition of the “Battle of the West”.
However, that is not the primary reason as to why this game makes the list.
Despite the vast gap between the two over the past couple of seasons, recent fixtures between Canterbury-Bankstown and Parramatta have been very close, with their last three meetings being decided by six points or less.
Tensions will be even higher in this clash, as the reinvigorated Bulldogs will be confident that they can get their first victory over the Eels since 2019.
ROUND 11 – GOLD COAST TITANS
If the Bulldogs are to play finals footy in 2021 then they must defeat the sides that will also be gunning for the seventh and eighth seeds.
The hardest side to beat in that category will likely be the Gold Coast Titans who have also recruited exceptionally well for this season.
Intrigue will be high as these new-look sides clash for the first time since their spending sprees, and in the end, this could be a top-eight four-pointer.
ROUND 21 – WESTS TIGERS
We have covered Canterbury-Bankstown’s other “Battle of the West” matchups for 2021, so it’s only fair that we take a look at their first fixture against the Tigers.
An absolute barn burner took place the last time they met, with the Tigers defeating the Bulldogs 29-28 at BankWest Stadium, although a big reason as to why this game makes the list is not necessarily because of who they are playing, but where they are playing.
For the first time since May 2019, the NRL will be returning to the Bulldogs’ traditional home of Belmore Oval.
By the time this match comes around, the NRL and the Bulldogs will be hoping that they can host a capacity crowd of 19,000 at Belmore Oval for their clash with the Tigers.