Matt Attard previews the round 19 clash between the Bulldogs and the Titans. Here’s what we have to look forward to …
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Bulldogs: 1. TBA 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Declan Casey 4. Braidon Burns 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Jackson 12. Corey Waddell 13. Tevita Pangai Junior 14. Zach Dockar-Clay 15. Kurtis Morrin 16. Joe Stimson 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 19. Aaron Schoupp 20. Matt Dufty 21. Bailey Biondi-Odo 22. Jackson Topine 23. Chris Patolo
Jake Averillo is out with COVID-19 (replacement yet to be named), Aaron Schoupp is listed as 18th Man, and Josh Addo-Carr has been named despite an ankle injury.Embed from Getty Images
Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Sosefo Fifita 3. Phillip Sami 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Tanah Boyd 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Aaron Booth 10. Isaac Liu 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 14. Erin Clark 15. Jaimin Jolliffe 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Jayden Campbell 18. Sam McIntyre 19. Kevin Proctor 20. Paul Turner 21. Brian Kelly 22. Alofiana Khan-Pereira
Jayden Campbell is back for his first game since Round 13 (named on the bench). Tino Fa’asuamaleaui returns to the starting side and Erin Clark goes to the bench.
Referee: Ben Cummins
As the Bulldogs continue to improve, the Titans look shambolic as they struggle across the park.
Jake Averillo will be missing with COVID, and there are question marks over the fitness of Josh Addo-Carr, but nevertheless the Bulldogs start this game strong favourites on the back of expansive attacking football that has seen them improve their attacking differential tenfold.
Their defence is still a worry (leaking plenty of points last week and the game previous) after two excellent displays without the ball.
Up north, the alarm bells are ringing for coach Justin Holbrook as he struggles to get much out of his players, including $1 million man David Fifita.
Despite a strong effort against the Broncos last week, the Titans have slumped to wooden spoon favourites on the back of seven straight losses.
The Bulldogs should cruise past them here, but as we’ve seen numerous times in the NRL anything can happen. A win would stretch Canterbury further from the dreaded last place spot.
It only takes one solid performance to kick start a run and the Titans weren’t too shabby last start. They completed at 80 per cent and missed less tackles than Brisbane, but their ineffectiveness with the ball was evident.
Fifita ran for 124 metres, broke nine tackles and made 27 tackles. But at $1 million a year you expect 80 minutes and more than your average yardage. Will this be the week he comes out of his shell, against a Bulldogs side still capable of sliding and claiming another wooden spoon?Embed from Getty Images
Both sides average 78 per cent completion rate in the NRL this season, while the teams are almost identical in average missed tackles (28 to the Bulldogs and 30 to the Titans) and errors (10 to 11).
This shows that despite recent results and improvements from Canterbury, both of these teams can still collect the wooden spoon. If Gold Coast win by a big margin they’ll leapfrog the Bulldogs on the ladder.
Bulldogs by 12.
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