Corey Norman might not be everyone's cup of tea but you can't say he shies away in big moments.
For the second game in a row, Norman wanted the ball in his hands in crunch time, kicking the Dragons to victory with a clutch golden point field goal.
Paul McGregor hopes his team already has the game put to bed well before the 80th minute on Sunday, but the Dragons can forget about an easy ride against the Bulldogs.
The Doggies were oh-so-close to causing a shocking boil-over last week against Melbourne and Dean Pay deserves credit for shaping this team into a competitive outfit.
Match: Dragons v Bulldogs
Round 5 -
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
Dragons: No changes for the Dragons. They will be 1-17. Mitch Allgood and Jonus Pearson were cut on Saturday, Jai Field and Josh Kerr were omitted on Sunday an hour before kick-off. The Dragons have conceded 92 points in three consecutive losses at Netstrata Stadium.
Bulldogs: The Bulldogs have also had a settled preparation with no changes. Injured prop Dylan Napa has been replaced by Ofahiki Ogden in the front row. Canterbury have not lost to the Dragons at Kogarah since 2009. They will be 1-17 as well with reserves Danny Fualalo, Marcelo Montoya, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Fa'amanu Brown culled from the original 21-man squad.
Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew DuftyFullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick Meaney
Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jordan PereiraWinger for Bulldogs is number 2 Jayden Okunbor
Centre for Dragons is number 3 Euan AitkenCentre for Bulldogs is number 3 Kerrod Holland
Centre for Dragons is number 4 Timoteo LafaiCentre for Bulldogs is number 4 Will Hopoate
Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele RavalawaWinger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis Smith
Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey NormanFive-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Jack Cogger
Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben HuntHalfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Lachlan Lewis
Prop for Dragons is number 8 James GrahamProp for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden Tolman
Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Cameron McInnesHooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul VaughanProp for Bulldogs is number 10 Ofahiki Ogden
2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Corey Harawira-Naera
Lock for Dragons is number 13 Blake LawrieLock for Bulldogs is number 13 Rhyse Martin
Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Jeremy LatimoreInterchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Michael Lichaa
Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Zac LomaxInterchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Sauaso Sue
Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Jacob HostInterchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Adam Elliott
Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Luciano LeiluaInterchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Chris Smith
Josh Jackson and Tyson Frizell are different types of backrowers but both are hugely important to their respective teams. Origin incumbent Frizell successfully returned last week after a two-week injury absence, while former Origin rep Jackson is still one of the toughest pound for pound players in the game. Both need to feature prominently on Sunday.
For the Dragons to win
The good thing for McGregor is that he shouldn't have to convince his players about the dangers of underestimating the Dogs after their assertive display against the Storm. If Ben Hunt can play as well as he did against the Broncos in round three the Dragons should be too strong at home.
For the Bulldogs to win
No Kieran Foran and they lost Dylan Napa to an injury after 16 minutes - yet the Doggies soldiered on and still nearly upset the Storm. They can't afford a mental let-down on Sunday against a team that has built confidence over the past fortnight. They need to defend as well as they did against Melbourne, especially against the likes of Norman, Hunt and Matt Dufty.
Brett Kimmorley says
Canterbury have shown they can compete again. They were desperately unlucky to get beat by Melbourne last week. Sometimes that can deflate you, at other times it can make you keep pushing ahead. For the Dragons, Corey Norman has found his niche. Before the comp started I felt Corey Norman was the best purchase of the off-season. In the last two weeks he is living up to that. Dragons by 6
Dragons Stat Attack
The Dragons are first in the NRL in decoy runs (216), second in tackle breaks (144) and equal-third in line breaks (16). They also rank second in total kick metres (2,553).
Bulldogs Stat Attack
The Bulldogs are the NRL's top team in completion rate (84%), off-loads (58) and total kick metres (2,661). Kerrod Holland is the league leader for off-loads (17), while Lachlan Lewis is tops in kick metres (1,703) and Will Hopoate is first in runs (83).
And another thing ...
Had to feel for Rhyse Martin after his missed conversion in the dying moments allowed the Storm to escape with an 18-16 round four victory. Martin had been successful with 41 of his 46 previous attempts dating back to last year. Unfortunately for the Dogs he missed a big one last Sunday - and that was after nailing his first two shots from out wide in the first half.