Date: Sunday 16th of August
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Home Team Bulldogs: 1 Brett Morris 2 Curtis Rona 3 Josh Morris 4 Timoteo Lafai 5 Sam Perrett 6 Moses Mbye 7 Trent Hodkinson 8 Aiden Tolman 9 Michael Lichaa 10 James Graham 11 Josh Jackson 12 Frank Pritchard 13 Greg Eastwood. Interchange: 14 Sam Kasiano 15 Shaun Lane 16 David Klemmer 17 Tim Browne 19 Lloyd Perrett 22 Danny Fualalo
Away Team Titans: 1 Josh Hoffman 2 David Mead 3 James Roberts 4 Nene Macdonald 5 Kalifa Faifai Loa 6 Aidan Sezer 7 Kane Elgey 8 Luke Douglas 9 Beau Falloon 10 Edward Pettybourne 11 Ryan James 12 Agnatius Paasi 13 Greg Bird. Interchange: 14 Dave Taylor 15 David Hala 16 Matt White 17 Daniel Mortimer 18 Lachlan Burr 20 Kierran Moseley
After becoming just the second side to defeat the Broncos at Suncorp stadium this season, the Bulldogs will be looking to climb deeper into the top eight with a victory against the struggling Titans on Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs have been relatively disappointing this season following a grand-final appearance last year, however they are finally beginning to show signs of what they are capable of. With an impressive victory against the ladder leaders, the match-up against the 15th placed Titans looms as an easy win.
The Titans shocked the Storm in the early stages of their match last round, as their daring use of the ball allowed them to score the first 8 points of the match, however the Storm quickly figured out a way to contain the Titans attack, and as a result the Gold Coast were only able to score one more try.
Neil Henry will need to send his troops out with an even more unorthodox game plan if the Titans are to upset the relentless Bulldogs. With the Dogs possessing the largest forward pack in the NRL, the much smaller Titans will need to utilise their speed and skill.
With the Titans season all but over, halves Aidan Sezer and Kane Elgey should be willing to chance their arm and get early ball to the likes of James Roberts, Nene MacDonald and David Mead. The Titans style of offloading early in the tackle count was relatively effective last week, and they will need to play with the same style of attack in order to crack the Bulldogs defence.
The Bulldogs pack were unstoppable against the Broncos with James Graham and Frank Pritchard particularly impressive. With the Broncos having a significantly more impressive forward pack than the Titans, the strength of the Bulldogs big men poses a worrying threat for the Gold Coast side, especially as they will be without Maroons forward Nate Myles.
The two teams met earlier in the season at Cbus Super Stadium, and it was the Titans who claimed victory against an Origin depleted Bulldogs. Aidan Sezer put in a man of the match performance against his junior club, and he will be eager to continue his recent run of form this week.
Beau Falloon returns to the side at hooker at the expense of Keiran Moseley, while Daniel Mortimer will be used as interchange hooker following one of his best games of the season against the Storm. Eddy Pettyybourne will also play after missing the clash against the Storm with the flu.
The Bulldogs are facing the possibility of being without young hooker Michael Lichaa, who suffered a knee injury last week. The already massive Canterbury side will gain another 112kg thanks to the return of Greg Eastwood.
The Titans have a surprisingly impressive record against the Dogs, despite the form difference between the two sides over the past few years. The Titans have won 4 of the last 5 clashes between the two, including the past two meetings.
However, despite the previous records between the two, the Bulldogs will be too switched on ahead of the finals to drop a simple game against the lowly-placed Titans.
Prediction Bulldogs by 16