The pressure of favouritism is not something the Titans have had to deal with all that often in recent years.
But that's the scenario facing Justin Holbrook's side when the Bulldogs host them at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
The Titans are 13th on the ladder with four matches remaining, but a trio of teams (Dragons, Wests Tigers and Manly) are just one win ahead of them. If they were to finish 10th, the season would be deemed a success.
As for the Bulldogs, two wins from 16 matches says it all. One week they can't score enough points to win a match, the next they can't defend well enough to emerge victorious.
Avoiding the wooden spoon remains their goal over the next four weeks.
Match: Bulldogs v Titans
Round 17 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
Bulldogs: Luke Thompson and Jake Averillo (both rested last week) return on the bench in place of Sione Katoa and Dean Britt. Reserves duo Jack Cogger and Tim Lafai were cut from the squad 24 hours from kick-off and Sauaso Sue and Reimis Smith dropped out on game day.
The Bulldogs have won four of their past five games against the Titans.
Titans: Jai Arrow returns from a shoulder injury after being elevated from the reserves to the interchange while winger Anthony Don has recovered from a rib injury and starts in place of Phillip Sami.
Prop Moeaki Fotuaika will return from suspension on the bench while prop Sam Lisone will make his 100th NRL appearance after securing a not guilty verdict at the judiciary.
Keegan Hipgrave and Jai Whitbread were omitted from the squad on Friday and Tanah Boyd dropped out of the squad an hour before kick-off.
Match: Bulldogs v Titans
Round 17 -
Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Will HopoateFullback for Titans is number 1 Alexander Brimson
Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick MeaneyWinger for Titans is number 2 Corey Thompson
Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Marcelo MontoyaCentre for Titans is number 3 Brian Kelly
Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Kerrod HollandCentre for Titans is number 4 Young Tonumaipea
Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Dallin Watene-ZelezniakWinger for Titans is number 20 Anthony Don
Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Kieran ForanFive-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Ashley Taylor
Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Lachlan LewisHalfback for Titans is number 7 Jamal Fogarty
Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Ofahiki OgdenProp for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-KingHooker for Titans is number 9 Mitch Rein
Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan NapaProp for Titans is number 10 Jaimin Jolliffe
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Sam Stone
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner2nd Row for Titans is number 12 Beau Fermor
Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Aiden TolmanLock for Titans is number 13 Tyrone Peachey
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Jake AverilloInterchange for Titans is number 14 Erin Clark
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Renouf AtoniInterchange for Titans is number 15 Moeaki Fotuaika
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Matt DooreyInterchange for Titans is number 17 Sam Lisone
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Luke ThompsonInterchange for Titans is number 19 Jai Arrow
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
Will Hopoate v AJ Brimson: He had a night to forget against the Raiders, but Hopoate remains a rep-standard outside back. Brimson, on the other hand, hasn't needed much time since returning from injury to remind everyone of his talent. Both are potential match-winners.
Just four years ago these sides were part of the finals action - the Bulldogs finishing seventh and the Titans eighth in 2016.
Both were bundled out in the opening week of the play-offs and it has been lean pickings since then with the Dogs finishing 11th the following year and 12th in 2018 and 2019, while Gold Coast were wooden spooners in 2019 after finishing 14th in 2018 and 15th in 2017.