The first match of the round on Saturday takes off at Belmore Sports Ground once more where a spirited Dogs performance can be expected. Both clubs are now playing for pride and looking to find combinations for next year. This match should mathematically rule the loser out of taking part in finals football this year with both sides struggling down the bottom of the ladder. Both sides now will also be looking to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon come seasons end.
The Bulldogs come into the match off the back a three-game losing streak, in a season that has been defined by failing to close out close finishes. The signature of Foran was supposed to fix this, however, there are now rumours he could be forced to retire due to his extensive injury history and failure to recuperate. Dean Pay in his first year has been made some astute transitions such as the move Moses Mbye to fullback although moving onto newer pastures at seasons end and not being afraid to drop any player.
The Gold Coast Titans in another long season have unearthed some promising talent in giving Arrow a full-time role in a starting position and AJ Brimson has been a revelation since dropping Elgey. On paper they have a squad capable of troubling some bigger teams however they lack any real X Factor with their attacking play.
2017 - Round 25 - Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 26 def. Gold Coast Titans 14 at Cbus Super Stadium
2016 - Round 7 - Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 21 def. Gold Coast Titans 20 at ANZ Stadium
2015 - Round 23 - Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 36 def. Gold Coast Titans 14 at Central Coast Stadium
2015 - Round 14 - Gold Coast Titans 28 def. Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 14 at Cbus Super Stadium
2014 - Round 26 - Gold Coast Titans 19 def. Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 18 at Cbus Super Stadium
The Bulldogs have much of the latest success from this fixture winning three in a row despite the clubs struggles in recent years. Then again the Gold Coast have not been world beaters either and this clash is once more a bottom of the table affair.
Typically, a fairly scoring clash and with both sides defence fairly weak this year the points could pile on once more.
|Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs||Gold Coast Titans|
|1||Moses Mbye||Michael Gordon|
|2||Brett Morris||Anthony Don|
|3||John Olive||Dale Copley|
|4||Will Hopoate||Brenko Lee|
|5||Marcelo Montoya||Phillip Sami|
|6||Jeremy Marshall-King||Alexander Brimson|
|7||Matt Frawley||Ashley Taylor|
|8||Aaron Woods||Jack Stockwell|
|9||Michael Lichaa||Nathan Peats|
|10||David Klemmer||Ryan James|
|11||Josh Jackson||Kevin Proctor|
|12||Raymond Faitala-Mariner||Keegan Hipgrave|
|13||Adam Elliot||Jai Arrow|
|14||Clay Priest||Mitch Rein|
|15||Kerrod Holland||Will Matthews|
|16||Renouf Toomaga||Moeaki Fotuaika|
|17||Aiden Tolman||Morgan Boyle|
|18||Reimis Smith||Bryce Cartwright|
|19||Rhyse Martin||Leilani Latu|
|20||Greg Eastwood||Kane Elgey|
|21||Lachlan Lewis||Jai Whitbread|
The facts that matter
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
Playing at the parochial home ground of Belmore Sports Ground the players especially the likes of Dave Klemmer will be fired up for this one. The club is known for its passionate support base and so a feeling of honour and respect felt by both players and fans at this famous ground should ignite and inspire all involved with Canterbury to a strong performance.
They have the worst attack in the competition and do not look any closer to improving this statistic. To beat the Titans they need to play as more of a team rather than looking for any one individual to break open the game. Will be urgent to win to avoid 3 wins and 11 losses that would see them ever more likely to pick up the wooden spoon.
Lack a real leader at the club with a weak spine, Mbye really needs to inject himself into the game and gameplan of the team. If he can take some pressure of his halves having previously played there and the Bulldogs men get some go forward they may finally start to put on some combination play.
Gold Coast Titans
Their Achilles heel has been in defence, leaking 345 points this season has cruelled any chance they may have had at sneaking into the top 8. Whilst the Bulldogs attack is not crash hot they could be picked apart if they don't start trusting each other more and putting their bodies on the line.
When switched on they look a side capable of going tit for tat with any side for the majority of the game. Their forwards need to fire up as they did against the Broncos earlier in the season. They boast a pack comprising James, Wallace and Arrow whom all could be Origin representatives by seasons end.
As I expect both sides to score points they need to Ash Taylor to be at his best, a virtuoso performance from the man can all but land the 2 points in the Titans hands. Has gone backward this season and should be looking to bring his entire array of skills before the Titans enjoy a two-week break.
The Bulldogs back at their old stomping ground will ensure the fans come out in force and see the Bulldogs grow an extra leg from their support. However, their attack has failed to take off all season and they have relied on individuals rather than playing as a team all season. Meanwhile, the Titans have lacked incisive cohesion for the most part of the season, however, play together as a team more so than the Bulldogs. For this reason I am going with the Titans to win by 4.