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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.

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.