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The Bulldogs' capitulation to Wests Tigers was compounded by an ankle injury to fullback Will Hopoate which will see him sidelined for at least six weeks.

Dean Pay's men have been commended for having a dig in 2020 and making opponents earn their points but the manner in which they were blown off the park by the Tigers will have coaching staff scratching their heads.

Unless Josh Jackson, Dylan Napa and Adam Elliott can put some starch back in the defence and plug the middle of the ruck, Damien Cook will have a field day and the points will flow for the Rabbitohs.

It hasn't all been smooth sailing for the Rabbitohs either with Latrell Mitchell out of sorts against the Panthers and Cook forced to come up with a whopping 60 tackles in a bid to plug the holes in a shaky defensive line. 

The Rundown

Team news

Bulldogs: Coach Dean Pay has confirmed that English import Luke Thompson won't make his NRL debut on Sunday. The prop only began training with his new club this week after being quarantined for a fortnight. 

"No, he won't play," Pay said on Saturday. "He hasn't trained for a number of months so I think it's a big ask for him to play tomorrow. Hopefully we've got a little bit of run in him, got into a little bit of contact work with him, just getting back into the groove of things so we could get him on the park next week."

Will Hopoate (ankle), Jake Averillo (head knock) and Kerrod Holland (bench) are out of the backline. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak moves to fullback, Reimis Smith and Marcelo Montoya are the centres and Nick Meaney and Christian Crichton come in on the wings.

Thompson and Sione Katoa dropped off the reserves list 24 hours before kick-off. Ofahiki Ogden and Jack Cogger were cut on Sunday. The Bulldogs have lost four from five at Bankwest Stadium in 2020.

Rabbitohs: James Roberts starts with Braidon Burns back to the bench in the only change. Winger Alex Johnston has scored five tries in his past four games.

Mark Nicholls and Troy Dargan dropped off the reserves list on Saturday night. Corey Allan and Patrick Mago were omitted an hour from kick-off.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
    Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Latrell Mitchell
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Meaney
    Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Dane Gagai
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Reimis Smith
    Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Campbell Graham
  • Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Marcelo Montoya
    Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 James Roberts
  • Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Christian Crichton
    Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Alex Johnston
  • Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Kieran Foran
    Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
  • Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Brandon Wakeham
    Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds

Forwards

  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden Tolman
    Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita Tatola
  • Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
    Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
  • Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan Napa
    Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
    2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Jaydn Su'A
  • 2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
    2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Ethan Lowe
  • Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Adam Elliott
    Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray

Interchange

  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Kerrod Holland
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Liam Knight
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Dean Britt
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Hame Sele
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Renouf To'omaga
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Braidon Burns
  • Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Sauaso Sue
    Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 19 Patrick Mago

Match Officials

  • Referee: Peter Gough
  • Touch Judge: Matt Noyen
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Video Referee: Ben Galea
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Clark

Last updated:

Key match-up

Adam Elliott v Cameron Murray. Elliott has been solid for the Bulldogs, running for more than 100 metres in his past two matches as well as offering some ball-playing ability. His lock counterpart Murray has acted like an extra playmaker at times since moving back to the middle, passing well while getting through plenty of work.

Stat attack

Latrell Mitchell’s passing game has been impressive for much of the season – so much so that he leads in the NRL in linebreak assists with eight. Cameron Smith, James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic each have seven.