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Cowboys v Bulldogs: Taumalolo out again; Atoni to start

The Cowboys breathed life into their season with a deserved win over Wests Tigers on Sunday.

Now they return home to face a Canterbury side that has allowed 174 points in five matches and is the only side in the NRL without a win.

After failing to score in their previous three matches, the Bulldogs managed three tries in last weekend's loss to the Storm.

If they can start strongly in Townsville, confidence could grow and a first win of 2021 could follow.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, will be determined to keep the doubts Canterbury players must be feeling bubbling away for another week.

Cowboys v Bulldogs

The rundown

Team news

Cowboys: Jason Taumalolo (hand) is ruled out once more after suffering a new fractured hand at training, on the opposite hand to the one that he injured in March.

Lachlan Burr will start at lock and Mitch Dunn joining the interchange. Esan Marsters also dropped out of the squad on Saturday.

Jake Clifford is the 18th man.

Justin O'Neill (head knock) is set to make his return from injury in the centres in place of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (ankle). Connolly Lemuelu has been named despite being under a cloud with a shoulder complaint.

The Cowboys have won seven of their past nine games against the Bulldogs.

Bulldogs: In a late change, Renouf Atoni will start at prop with Dylan Napa back to the interchange bench. Aaron Schoupp will be the 18th man.

Skipper Josh Jackson is out after suffering a torn calf at training, with English forward Luke Thompson replacing him at lock.

Chris Smith has moved from the reserves to the interchange. 

Brandon Wakeham, Dean Britt and Joe Stimson dropped off the initial reserves list on Saturday, with Schoupp the new addition.

Playmaker Lachlan Lewis (head knock) was a chance of returning this week but will have to wait until at least next round.

The Bulldogs have not won in Queensland since May 2019.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Valentine Holmes
    Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Cotric
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Justin O'Neill
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will Hopoate
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Connelly Lemuelu
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Corey Allan
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Tuipulotu Katoa
  • Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott Drinkwater
    Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Jake Averillo
  • Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Ben Hampton
    Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Kyle Flanagan

Forwards

  • Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Coen Hess
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Jack Hetherington
  • Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
    Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Sione Katoa
  • Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 15 Renouf Atoni
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Shane Wright
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Adam Elliott
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Ben Condon
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Corey Waddell
  • Lock for Cowboys is number 15 Lachlan Burr
    Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Luke Thompson

Interchange

  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 8 Dylan Napa
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Francis Molo
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Jackson Topine
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Corey Jensen
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Chris Smith
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 19 Mitchell Dunn
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Ofahiki Ogden

Reserves

  • Reserve for Cowboys is number 21 Jake Clifford
    Reserve for Bulldogs is number 25 Aaron Schoupp

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Touch Judge: Michael Wise
  • Senior Review Official: Chris Butler

Last updated:

Key match-up

Jason Taumalolo v Luke Thompson: Taumalolo's expected return from a broken hand will see he and Thompson battle for supremacy in the middle third of the field. Thompson - who played his first match of 2021 last weekend - made a notable difference to the Canterbury pack when he was on the field against Melbourne.

Stat attack

Canterbury have scored 34 points in five matches, the fewest since Western Suburbs scored the same number of points in the opening five weeks of 1999.

 

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