The Bulldogs overcame a slow start in the 2018 decider to record a historic 18-12 victory over the Newtown Jets but will be looking to cement their dominance in the Intrust Super State Championship against the Redcliffe Dolphins this Sunday afternoon.
The early 10-0 deficit had them on the back foot for a majority of the opening 40 minutes, but showed an abundance of character to keep the Jets – the best attacking team in the competition, tryless in the second-half.
But the task gets no easier against another potent team in the Dolphins, a side that boasts plenty of attacking flair which was evident in their 36-22 victory in the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final.
The win was inspired by a Man of the Match performance from Toby Rudolf with the back-rower recording 143m, one line-break, seven tackle-breaks and 33 tackles in a mammoth performance while fullback Trai Fuller also starred with two tries and 11 tackle breaks.
Match: Bulldogs v Dolphins
State Championship Final -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
But as the best attacking team in the competition it will take another clinical performance to breakthrough the resilient defence of the Bulldogs, especially against a side that boasts First-Grade players such as Rhyse Martin, Greg Eastwood and Fa'amanu Brown.
Keep an eye on hooker Zac Woolford after the dynamic No.9 was called into the starting side after Matt Frawley was ruled out through injury – putting in a sparkling Man of the Match performance that saw him record 34 tackles and throw a wonder cut-out pass for winger Josh Bergamin for a crucial try in the second half.
Redcliffe will also be full of confidence, however, with the likes of Kotoni Staggs, Jamil Hopoate and 2017 ISP Player of the Year Cameron Cullen in their side.
Cullen enjoyed a stellar season for the Blacktown Workers last year and will prove influential in their clash this weekend – the halfback possessing a crafty ball-playing ability and pin-point kicking game that has helped him to 11 try-assists and 10 line-break assists this season.
An enticing match up looms in the forwards with the likes of Rudolf and Hopoate going head-to-head with Martin and Ofahiki Ogden, so expect a fierce encounter as both teams look to dominate physically in the opening stages before both sides flex their muscles with their attack out-wide.
Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Mason CerrutoFullback for Dolphins is number 1 Trai Fuller
Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Josh BergaminWinger for Dolphins is number 2 Josh Beehag
Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Morgan HarperCentre for Dolphins is number 3 Kotoni Staggs
Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 John OliveCentre for Dolphins is number 4 Tom Opacic
Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Jayden OkunborWinger for Dolphins is number 5 Jeremy Hawkins
Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Josh CleelandFive-Eighth for Dolphins is number 6 Bryce Donovan
Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Fa'amanu BrownHalfback for Dolphins is number 7 Cameron Cullen
Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Renouf ToomagaProp for Dolphins is number 16 Nathan Watts
Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Zac WoolfordHooker for Dolphins is number 9 Jake Turpin
Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Francis TualauProp for Dolphins is number 10 Sam Anderson
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Ofahiki Ogden2nd Row for Dolphins is number 14 Myles Taueli
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Rhyse Martin2nd Row for Dolphins is number 11 Toby Rudolf
Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Greg EastwoodLock for Dolphins is number 13 Jamil Hopoate
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Bronson GarlickInterchange for Dolphins is number 8 Nick Slyney
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Lachlan BurrInterchange for Dolphins is number 12 Aaron Whitchurch
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Jack NelsonInterchange for Dolphins is number 15 James Taylor
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Chris SmithInterchange for Dolphins is number 17 Hugh Pratt
Dolphins: Nathan Watts and Myles Taueli move into the starting pack with Nick Slyney and Aaron Whitchurch to come off the bench. Scott Schulte and Tom Geraghty drop off the extended bench.
Bulldogs: Canterbury are 1-17 with Zac Cardassilaris, Brandon Wakeham, Jesse Martin and D'rhys Miller dropping off the extended bench.