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A refreshed Bulldogs outfit will be looking to spring a surprise against a St George Illawarra side fresh from a confidence-boosting victory.

The Dragons snapped a three-game losing streak in style last week, scoring 52 in a thumping of the Broncos with fullback Matt Dufty scoring two tries and producing five try assists.

They also bolstered their depth in the middle with the return of Jack de Belin, and while coach Anthony Griffin wouldn't have been thrilled with conceding 24 points against the wooden spooners he would've been happy with his team's best attacking display of the season.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are coming off the bye and are hopeful of a much-improved second half of the season after claiming just a single win in the first.

Attack has been Canterbury's problem this year, with Trent Barrett's men averaging just over 11 points per game. With 134 points scored from 12 matches, they're the only club yet to score 200 points this season.

The rundown

Team news

Bulldogs: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is out, with Tuipulotu Katoa to start at fullback. Jeremy Marshall-King (foot) returns from injury but Lachlan Lewis (ribs) and Corey Allan (shoulder) are more likely in round 15.

Kyle Flanagan will be the 18th man and Corey Waddell will start from the interchange in No.20.

Along with Watene-Zelezniak, Joe Stimson was left out 24 hours before the match.

Brad Deitz (hamstring) and fellow dummy-half Jackson Topine drop out of the 21-man squad. The club is not impacted by State of Origin and should be 1-17.

Bulldogs centre Nick Cotric has scored four tries in six games against the Dragons.

Dragons: Tariq Sims will start for the Dragons, five days after he played for NSW in Townsville. That moves Josh Kerr back to the bench and Jack Bird remains in the back row.

Poasa Faamausili will be the 18th man for Anthony Griffin's team. 

Adam Clune and Billy Burns were the two players left out on the eve of the match.

Poasa Faamausili suffered a head knock last week and will need to pass concussion protocols to play.

The Dragons have won four of their past five games against the Bulldogs.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Bulldogs is number 21 Tuipulotu Katoa
    Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew Dufty
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Cotric
    Winger for Dragons is number 2 Cody Ramsey
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will Hopoate
    Centre for Dragons is number 3 Brayden Wiliame
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Aaron Schoupp
    Centre for Dragons is number 4 Gerard Beale
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Nick Meaney
    Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
  • Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Brandon Wakeham
    Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
  • Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jake Averillo
    Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt

Forwards

  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Jack Hetherington
    Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
  • Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
    Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCullough
  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Luke Thompson
    Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Adam Elliott
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Jack Bird
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Matt Doorey
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 20 Tariq Sims
  • Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Josh Jackson
    Lock for Dragons is number 13 Jackson Ford

Interchange

  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Sione Katoa
    Interchange for Dragons is number 11 Josh Kerr
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Dylan Napa
    Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Talatau Amone
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Ava Seumanufagai
    Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Daniel Alvaro
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 20 Corey Waddell
    Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Jack De Belin

Reserves

  • Reserve for Bulldogs is number 19 Kyle Flanagan
    Reserve for Dragons is number 15 Poasa Faamausili

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Key match-up

Matt Dufty v Dallin Watene-Zelezniak: One in-form player with a future contract on the line goes up against a player who is yet to nail down a position for this season.

Dufty was in sublime touch on Thursday, scoring or laying on a whopping seven tries against Brisbane, and yet still appears to be on the outer at the Dragons with no contract offer for next year forthcoming.

Watene-Zelezniak, meanwhile, is contracted until 2022 but has been shifted between fullback and the wing this year, with teammates Nick Meaney and Corey Allan also spending time at the back.

Both still have plenty to prove in one of the most vital positions in the modern game.

Stat attack

They may struggle to score points but one thing you can say for the Bulldogs in attack is they know how to take care of the ball. Canterbury's 7.1 errors per game is the fewest of any team in the NRL, and much better than the Dragons' 10.1 (second worst).

It does, however, suggest Trent Barrett's men aren't chancing their arm enough in attack – they rank third last in offloads per game and last in line-break assists, line breaks and tries.

 

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