St George Illawarra enter their WIN Stadium clash with Canterbury on a rising trajectory as they seek revenge on the Bulldogs for a round four thumping that capped a dismal 0-4 start to 2020.
Since that 22-2 Bankwest belting at the hands of their fellow strugglers, Canterbury's only win so far, the Dragons have turned their season around with three wins in five outings to sit just two points behind a three-way tie for eighth place.
In that time they have lost only to last season's grand finalists the Roosters (26-12) and the Raiders (22-16) and registered their most impressive win of the season on Sunday, an emphatic 34-4 thumping of Manly.
Canterbury, in contrast, reaped nothing from that round four clash beyond the two points. Things have gone from bad to worse during a five-game losing skid which plumbed new depths in an error-ridden performance on Saturday which allowed former partners-in-misery Brisbane to snap their own six-game run of futility.
Dragons: The Dragons are 1-17. Winger Jason Saab replaces the suspended Jordan Pereira in the only change from last week's big win over Manly. Fullback Matt Dufty has scored eight tries from his past 10 games at WIN Stadium.
Tristain Sailor and Tim Lafai dropped out of the squad an hour before kick-off after Jacob Host and Korbin Sims were omitted on Friday.
Bulldogs: Interim coach Steve Georgallis has recalled Lachlan Lewis in the halves in place of Brandon Wakeham. Nick Meaney swaps to fullback with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on the wing.
Kerrod Holland starts at centre for the suspended Reimis Smith. Jeremy Marshall-King is back at starting hooker with Sione Katoa reverting to the bench.
Dean Britt and Jake Averillo were trimmed from the reserves list on game day after Wakeham and Chris Smith were cut 24 hours out from kick-off.
The Bulldogs have held the Dragons tryless in three of the past seven meetings of these clubs.
Matt Dufty v Dallin Watene-Zelezniak: The diminutive Dufty has been a revelation for St George Illawarra, his speed and incisiveness playing a key role in igniting the Dragons' resurgent attack.
Watene-Zelezniak, on the other hand, has failed to provide any spark when handed the No.1 jumper, leading the league in errors (19) and handling errors (18). The Bulldogs custodian has just one try to his name this year (and only three over his past 34 games) against Dufty's 2020 tally of six.
The Bulldogs' woes can be attributed in large part to their NRL-worst attack which has produced a meagre 94 points through nine rounds, their 16 tries lagging 10 behind 11th ranked St George Illawarra's 26.