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Bulldogs v Titans: Napa in for Thompson; Kelly good to go

Canterbury have earned plenty of plaudits for competitive performances against top eight sides in recent weeks but still haven't tasted victory since round 14.

This match has been transferred from a 2pm kick-off at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday to 6pm on Monday at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane due to the revised round 20 draw brought about by Queensland's snap lockdown.

Just like that win over the Dragons seven weeks ago, the Bulldogs face a team on the fringe of finals contention in the Gold Coast.

Coach Trent Barrett will be encouraged by the improvements his side has shown in attack and eager for them to match that with a similar increase in discipline following key forward Luke Thompson's dangerous contact ban.

Titans mentor Justin Holbrook is in a much better place following the Gold Coast's much-improved form in their win over the Dragons - an effort that was highlighted by the return of back-rower David Fifita to his devastating best.

The rundown

Team news

Bulldogs: English international Luke Thompson failed in his judiciary bid on Tuesday night and received a three-match ban.

With Thompson suspended, Dylan Napa starts at prop with Renouf Atoni joining the bench. Chris Patolo has also joined the bench.

Ava Seumanufagai was the other player omitted from the squad when the team was cut back to 19. Joe Stimson was the last player cut an hour before kick-off and Falakiko Manu is 18th man.

Recalled halfback Kyle Flanagan gets another chance after being dropped in round 16 with Lachlan Lewis relegated to the extended bench. 

Titans: As he did last week against the Dragons, Justin Holbrook has moved David Fifita to the bench and Beau Fermor will start the game.

Jamal Fogarty was the last man cut an hour before kick-off and Sam McIntyre is 18th man.

Recalled centre Esan Marsters replaces Patrick Herbert (suspension) on the right edge while Brian Kelly takes his place on the left side after overcoming an ankle injury suffered last week.

Sam Stone and Anthony Don were the first two players cut from the squad.

The Titans have won three of their past four games against the Bulldogs.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Corey Allan
    Fullback for Titans is number 1 Alexander Brimson
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Meaney
    Winger for Titans is number 2 Greg Marzhew
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will Hopoate
    Centre for Titans is number 3 Brian Kelly
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Aaron Schoupp
    Centre for Titans is number 4 Esan Marsters
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Jayden Okunbor
    Winger for Titans is number 5 Corey Thompson
  • Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Jake Averillo
    Five-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Ashley Taylor
  • Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Kyle Flanagan
    Halfback for Titans is number 7 Toby Sexton

Forwards

  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Jack Hetherington
    Prop for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
  • Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
    Hooker for Titans is number 9 Mitch Rein
  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 15 Dylan Napa
    Prop for Titans is number 10 Moeaki Fotuaika
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Corey Waddell
    2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Kevin Proctor
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Adam Elliott
    2nd Row for Titans is number 16 Beau Fermor
  • Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Josh Jackson
    Lock for Titans is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui

Interchange

  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Bailey Biondi-Odo
    Interchange for Titans is number 12 David Fifita
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Matt Doorey
    Interchange for Titans is number 14 Tyrone Peachey
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 21 Chris Patolo
    Interchange for Titans is number 15 Sam Lisone
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 23 Renouf Atoni
    Interchange for Titans is number 17 Jaimin Jolliffe

Reserves

  • Reserve for Bulldogs is number 22 Falakiko Manu
    Reserve for Titans is number 20 Sam McIntyre

Match Officials

  • Referee: Matt Cecchin
  • Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Darian Furner
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

Key match-up

Josh Jackson v David Fifita: Hard-working veteran Jackson will be looking to rally the Canterbury pack as they brace to contain the rampaging Titans back-rower because whether he starts the game or comes off the bench Fifita will be looking to do harm to the Bulldogs defensive line.

Jackson only trails fellow back-rower Corey Waddell, the team's top tackler with 520, by eight despite having played six fewer games while Fifita (128) leads the NRL for tackle breaks by a massive 30 over second-placed Brian To'o and has scored more tries than any other forward in the competition.

Stat attack

Poor discipline continues to hurt the Bulldogs but the Gold Coast also need to clean up their act. Canterbury is the most-penalised team in the competition with 98 while the Titans round out the top five with 82.

 

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