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The Gold Coast Titans simply cannot afford anything short of a decisive win over the struggling Canterbury Bulldogs to keep in touch with the top eight. Follow this NRL match here on The Roar with live scores from 3pm (AEST).
As expected, the Titans were no match for the undefeated Panthers last week, going down 48-12 to continue their poor recent form. Of particular concern is their suddenly leaky defence, which has conceded a whopping 188 points in their last five matches.
With star forward David Fifita still missing through suspension, the Titans have lacked impetus in recent weeks, and a clash with the lowly Bulldogs looms as just the sort of banana-skin match this side has continually struggled to overcome throughout their history. Also banned for this week is Herman Ese’ese and Tyrone Peachey, which has forced a reshuffle as Tino Fa’asuamaleaui shifts to lock and Moeaki Fotuaki starts as prop.
For the second week in a row, the Bulldogs have the chance to take on a badly out of form opponent and record their second win of the year. They came close against the Raiders last week, but a 20-18 loss to and giving up a second-half lead to the NRL’s fadeout kings pretty much sums up where Trent Barrett’s team are at at this stage of their development.
19-year old Aaron Schoupp will debut at centre, with Nick Meaney moving onto the wing to replace the concussed Tui Katoa.
1. AJ Brimson, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Brian Kelly, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. Phillip Sami, 6. Tanah Boyd, 7. Jamal Fogarty (c), 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Moeaki Fotuaika, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Beau Fermor, 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
Bench/Reserves: 14. Erin Clark, 15. Sam Stone, 16. Jaimin Jolliffe, 17. Sam McIntyre | 18. Jai Whitbread, 19. Jayden Campbell, 20. Toby Sexton, 21. Ash Taylor
1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Will Hopoate (c), 4. Aaron Schoupp, 5. Tuipolotu Katoa, 6. Brandon Wakeham, 7. Jake Averillo, 8. Ava Seumanufagai, 9. Sione Katoa, 10. Luke Thompson, 11. Matt Doorey, 12. Chris Smith, 13. Renouf Atoni
Bench/Reserves: 14. Brad Deitz, 15. Corey Waddell, 16. Adam Elliott, 17. Dylan Napa | 19. Tuipolotu Katoa, 20. Joe Stimson, 21. Kyle Flanagan, 23. Ofahiki Ogden