By Matt Cleary
CANTERBURY Bulldogs and Parramatta Eels will contest the second annual I4Give Cup at Accor Stadium on Monday, a match which also marks the NRL’s first King’s Birthday long weekend fixture.
Played in honour of the Abdallah Family, who continue to spread a message of forgiveness after losing three children and their niece in a car accident in Oatlands in 2020, the I4Give Cup is an initiative between the Bulldogs, Eels and the I4Give Foundation.
I4Give founder, father and Bulldogs fan Danny Abdallah spoke to Canterbury players on Thursday and will present the I4Give Cup to the winning captain on Monday.
Last year was a big one for Mr Abdallah and his wife Leila who addressed the World Meeting of Families at The Vatican in Rome, joined Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at at Westminster Abbey for the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and presented the I4Give Cup to Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson following the Dogs’ shock 34-4 win over Parramatta at Accor Stadium.
Storylines abound for Monday’s match, which kicks off at 4pm.
A big game up front against Eels enforcers Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard should secure Tevita Pangai Jnr‘s position in the Blues team ahead of State of Origin game two in Brisbane.
With Blues halfback Nathan Cleary injured, Bulldogs captain Matt Burton and Eels ace Mitchell Moses could play their way into NSW coach Brad Fittler’s notebook.
Another looking to cement his spot in Fittler’s little blue book is Bulldogs flier Josh Addo-Carr. ‘The Foxx’ has scored 21 tries in 18 games at Accor Stadium including a hat-trick in last year’s I4Give Cup.
Yet Addo-Carr faces a significant hurdle given he’s named to line up against Eels powerhouse Maika Sivo, the blockbusting Fijian who has scored 45 tries in his last 50 games.
On a lighter note and given the royal theme, live-wire Eels captain Clint Gutherson will be well aware of the public holiday’s significance given some years ago he proclaimed himself ‘King Gutho’.
The Eels have won eight of their last 10 games against the Bulldogs at Accor Stadium.
The Dogs are coming off a tight, one-point loss to the Roosters while the Eels will be refreshed following a bye.
Both teams sit outside the Top-8 and will be desperate to keep themselves in the 2023 premiership hunt.
1:25pm: Gates open
1:40pm: Knock-on Effect NSW Cup – Bulldogs v Eels
4:00pm: NRL Telstra Premiership – Bulldogs v Eels
Top Tips: Click here for info on the best game day experience at Accor Stadium.