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The lustre is rapidly disappearing from Gold Coast's premiership credentials thanks to a collapse in the team's defensive resolve in recent weeks.

The Titans have conceded a staggering 188 points in their past five outings, sending their points differential into negative territory and the club out of the top eight.

A match against one of the NRL's battlers should be just the pick-me-up the team needs but the roller-coaster form line and absence of star forward David Fifita (suspended) dictate that nothing be taken for granted. And with dates against the Storm and Roosters looming this is a win the Titans just have to have.

Being unable to seal the deal after leading 12-8 against a 12-man Canberra is hardly an encouraging sign for the Bulldogs. It's been four weeks since Canterbury's lone win of 2021 and they still don't look like they have worked out how and where victory No.2 will be secured.

The rundown

Team news

Titans: Gold Coast will start 1-17 with Jai Whitbread the 18th man. With Herman Ese'ese (three weeks) and Tyrone Peachey (two weeks) suspended, the Titans have reshuffled their pack. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui shifts from prop to lock and Mo Fotuaika moves into the starting side at prop.

Sam Stone and Erin Clark are the new faces on the bench.

Ash Taylor and Toby Sexton were culled when the 19-man squad was announced 24 hours out from kick-off.

The Titans have won four of their past five games at Cbus Super Stadium but they have conceded 188 points in their past five outings in 2021.

Bulldogs: In a change announced an hour before kick-off, Adam Elliott moves into the starting side, with Renouf Atoni now on the interchange. Ofahiki Ogden is the 18th man. 

Winger Tui Katoa has been sidelined after he was on the end of Josh Papalii's high shot on Saturday.

Canterbury have been granted an NRL exemption to replace him with Watson Heleta in their squad. Heleta was omitted an hour before kick-off. Kyle Flanagan and Joe Stimson were also omitted from their reserves on Friday.

Nick Meaney moves out to the wing and the new centre is 19-year-old debutant Aaron Schoupp.

Prop Dylan Napa has been named on the bench in his return from a shoulder injury.

Matt Doorey has been promoted to the starting side in the second row.

Jeremy Marshall-King (foot), Josh Jackson (calf) and Jack Hetherington (suspension) are at least another week away. 

The Bulldogs have lost their past seven games in Queensland.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Titans is number 1 Alexander Brimson
    Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Winger for Titans is number 2 Anthony Don
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Cotric
  • Centre for Titans is number 3 Brian Kelly
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will Hopoate
  • Centre for Titans is number 4 Esan Marsters
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Aaron Schoupp
  • Winger for Titans is number 5 Phillip Sami
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Nick Meaney
  • Five-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Tanah Boyd
    Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Brandon Wakeham
  • Halfback for Titans is number 7 Jamal Fogarty
    Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jake Averillo

Forwards

  • Prop for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Ava Seumanufagai
  • Hooker for Titans is number 9 Mitch Rein
    Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Sione Katoa
  • Prop for Titans is number 10 Moeaki Fotuaika
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Luke Thompson
  • 2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Kevin Proctor
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Matt Doorey
  • 2nd Row for Titans is number 12 Beau Fermor
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Chris Smith
  • Lock for Titans is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
    Lock for Bulldogs is number 16 Adam Elliott

Interchange

  • Interchange for Titans is number 14 Erin Clark
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 13 Renouf Atoni
  • Interchange for Titans is number 15 Sam Stone
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Bradley Deitz
  • Interchange for Titans is number 16 Jaimin Jolliffe
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Corey Waddell
  • Interchange for Titans is number 17 Sam McIntyre
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Dylan Napa

Reserves

  • Reserve for Titans is number 18 Jai Whitbread
    Reserve for Bulldogs is number 23 Ofahiki Ogden

Match Officials

  • Referee: Matt Cecchin
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Touch Judge: Tyson Brough
  • Senior Review Official: Chris Butler

Last updated:

Key match-up

Jarrod Wallace v Luke Thompson: Wallace is averaging 100 metres per game this season and has been threatening opposition defences with some crafty offloads.

The Titans' pack will look to lay the foundation for their speed to men to capitalise and Wallace will be in the thick of the action.

Thompson arrived at the Bulldogs mid-season from England last year and didn't quite hit top gear, but with a pre-season under his belt has improved across the board this season with his run metres per game improving from 111 to 142 while his tackle counts, tackle breaks and offloads have all increased.

Stat attack

The Bulldogs may be in the competition basement but they're the intercept kings so far in 2021. Canterbury have snagged six opposition passes to rank No.1 ahead of a four-way tie for second between the Cowboys, Roosters, Eels and Rabbitohs on five.

 

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