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.
Match: Dragons v Bulldogs
Round 10 -
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
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.
Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew DuftyFullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick Meaney
Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jason SaabWinger for Bulldogs is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Centre for Dragons is number 3 Euan AitkenCentre for Bulldogs is number 3 Kerrod Holland
Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac LomaxCentre for Bulldogs is number 4 Marcelo Montoya
Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele RavalawaWinger for Bulldogs is number 5 Christian Crichton
Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey NormanFive-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Kieran Foran
Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Adam CluneHalfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Lachlan Lewis
Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake LawrieProp for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden Tolman
Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Ben HuntHooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul VaughanProp for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan Napa
2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
Lock for Dragons is number 13 Cameron McInnesLock for Bulldogs is number 13 Luke Thompson
Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Trent MerrinInterchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Sione Katoa
Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Josh KerrInterchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Sauaso Sue
Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Tyrell FuimaonoInterchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Renouf Atoni
Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Jackson FordInterchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Ofahiki Ogden
- Referee: Henry Perenara
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
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.