The Bulldogs are serious about steering clear of the wooden spoon if their last two performances are any guide.

The Dogs are chasing a third straight win after consecutive upsets of Cronulla and Newcastle.

Coach Dean Pay has got his players believing in each other and any rivals underestimating them in the run to the finals do so at their own peril.

Brisbane's draw with the Warriors last week wasn't much better than a loss, leaving them with so little room for error over the final eight rounds they simply can't afford to lose to a team below them on the ladder.

Match: Broncos v Bulldogs

Round 18 -

Full Time
Broncos

Home Team

Broncos

Scored 28 points
Bulldogs

Away Team

Bulldogs

Scored 6 points

Venue: Suncorp Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS

The Rundown

Team news

Broncos: Rookie Herbie Farnworth drops out, with David Fifita named at centre and Rhys Kennedy joining the bench. Keenan Palasia dropped off the extended bench an hour before kick-off. Corey Oates returns on the right wing, with Jamayne Issako swapping to left wing. Xavier Coates was culled from the squad 24 hours out from kick-off along with Izaia Perese.

Bulldogs: The Bulldogs are 1-17, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Kerrod Holland dropped off the reserves list. Injuries to Aiden Tolman (ribs) and Sauaso Sue (knee) forced a reshuffle in the pack with Ofahiki Ogden coming into the starting side and Danny Fualalo joining the bench. Adam Elliott has been promoted to the starting side at lock and Chris Smith goes to the bench. Fa'amanu Brown and Kayne Kalache were omitted 24 hours before kick-off.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Anthony Milford
    Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Winger for Broncos is number 2 Corey Oates
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Meaney
  • Centre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni Staggs
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Marcelo Montoya
  • Centre for Broncos is number 16 David Fifita
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Will Hopoate
  • Winger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne Isaako
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis Smith
  • Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Darius Boyd
    Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Brandon Wakeham
  • Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Jake Turpin
    Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jack Cogger

Forwards

  • Prop for Broncos is number 8 Matthew Lodge
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Ofahiki Ogden
  • Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Andrew McCullough
    Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Michael Lichaa
  • Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne Haas
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan Napa
  • 2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Alex Glenn
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
  • 2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Tevita Pangai Junior
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Corey Harawira-Naera
  • Lock for Broncos is number 13 Thomas Flegler
    Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Adam Elliott

Interchange

  • Interchange for Broncos is number 14 James Segeyaro
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Jeremy Marshall-King
  • Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Joe Ofahengaue
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Renouf Toomaga
  • Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Patrick Carrigan
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Danny Fualalo
  • Interchange for Broncos is number 18 Rhys Kennedy
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Chris Smith

Key match-up

The clash between Brisbane duo Payne Haas and Matt Lodge and Bulldogs props Dylan Napa and Ofahiki Ogden will go a long way towards deciding who wins the game. If Napa is at his explosive best and inspires Ogden to play a blinder then the Doggies could make it an unprecedented hat-trick of wins for 2019.

For the Broncos to win

They have to contain the Warriors up front and keep turning them around with an effective kick-and-chase game. Anthony Seibold will be banking on Darius Boyd and Anthony Milford to provide good direction, while Kotoni Staggs has to stay defensively sharp for 80 minutes against an in-form Will Hopoate.

For the Bulldogs to win

The Dogs showed no signs of panic or stress when they fell behind early last week and they'll need the same type of poise and self-belief on Thursday night. Two straight wins has them feeling good about themselves and they'll head to Brisbane more confident than they've been all year. Brisbane winger Corey Oates is due for a hat-trick and Canterbury's outside backs can't allow him to get rolling.

Brett Kimmorley says

Canterbury have found some form. Defensively they have been very good lately. They have only scored 20 points four times this year and they have won each time. Can they do that again? There has been a form turnaround from Brisbane lately, their young forwards are looking good. Broncos by 4

Stat Attack

Will Hopoate showed why he's still one of the game's top centres with a marvellous performance against Newcastle. Hopoate had 25 runs for a game-high 235 metres, including 86 post-contact metres. He scored a try, made 21 tackles and also finished with seven tackle breaks and a line break.

And another thing ...

The Bulldogs' 68 percent completion rate against Newcastle was well below their 79 percent average for the season. They had more missed tackles than Newcastle, conceded more penalties and finished with more errors, but once they got a sniff of victory they just looked like they wanted it more than the Knights.