Anderson tips Dogs to weather the Storm
Chris Anderson coached Melbourne to their only legitimate premiership, in 1999, and also prepared Canterbury to win the title in 1995, but he's not sitting on the fence when it comes to the grand final. He's tipping the Bulldogs to win by six.
Anderson said yesterday he could see Canterbury putting together a score in the mid-20s, and he didn't think the Storm would be able to match them if the Bulldogs did that.
The former Australian coach's opinion might shock a lot of people, since Melbourne can count on the big three – Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith – to push the button in attack, but it is clear he has thought long and hard about it.
"I think it's going to be a tremendous contest between two teams that play contrasting styles," Anderson said. "There are four or five great players on either side, and the two fullbacks alone are worth the price of admission. Each of the coaches knows what the other is going to do on the day, so it's a matter for each team to try to prevent the other team from doing it well.
"But you can't always shoot down what the other team is trying to do, and I think Canterbury have got more points in them than Melbourne. If Melbourne get their big blokes going, that will set up their attack down the middle, through Smith, Cronk and Slater. But Canterbury will work hard to nullify that, and I believe they'll do a good job.
"Canterbury will try to get their attack going wide, on either side of the ruck, and the way the Bulldogs play, with their short passing game, will make it hard for Melbourne to stop them from getting quick play-the-balls. I don't think Canterbury are going to start like they did against Souths last week, and move the ball wide straight away, but they will eventually.
"If Melbourne's defence can't force Canterbury into errors, I can see Canterbury being very dangerous in attack towards the end of the first half and again towards the end of the second. I know the first two games between these teams this year were low-scoring ones, but I think Canterbury can come up with four or five tries and score about 26 points this time.
"I don't think Melbourne have got 26 points in them in this game, because I reckon the Bulldogs will do a good job of slowing down the play-the-ball and containing them better in defence."