Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs welcome notable inclusions from injury and suspension for our clash against the Panthers in Round 12 this Saturday at BlueBet Stadium.
The Penrith Panthers remain the only undefeated side in the competition, scoring an average of 33 points per match and keeping opponents below an average of 7 points a game.
The Belmore outfit last played at BlueBet Stadium in 2018, going down to the Panthers 22-14 in a tight contest. Penrith have won 3 of the last 5 encounters between the clubs in which the Bulldog's face an uphill battle when they meet the Panthers at the foot of the mountains this Saturday.
Ultimate Security Match Preview: Round 12 v Panthers
Bulldogs: In a late change, Brad Deitz starts at hooker with Jackson Topine moving to the bench. Jack Hetherington returns at prop and captain Josh Jackson is back locking the scrum in a major revamp of the Canterbury pack. Ava Seumanufagai drops back to the interchange, Adam Elliott moves from No.13 to the second row in place of Chris Smith (suspended) and Topine returns from injury to replace Sione Katoa (suspended) in the squad. Fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will play despite suffering a foot injury in the loss to Gold Coast and rookie centre Aaron Schoupp retains his place. Corey Waddell is the 18th man with Tui Katoa omitted from the reserves an hour before kick-off. Kyle Flanagan and Renouf Atoni were dropped from the bench on Friday.
Panthers: Maroons back-rower Kurt Capewell (crusher) accepted a one-week ban with an early plea, allowing Moses Leota (shoulder) to slot back in after his late withdrawal last week. Liam Martin shifts back to the second row. Dylan Edwards (hamstring) has failed to recover so Stephen Crichton stays at fullback and Paul Momirovski partners hat-trick hero Matt Burton in the centres. Izack Tago is the 18th man, with Robert Jennings dropping off the extended bench on game day. Mitch Kenny and Lindsay Smith were omitted when the squad was trimmed to 19 players 24 hours out from kick-off.
Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Stephen CrichtonFullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Winger for Panthers is number 2 Charlie StainesWinger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Cotric
Centre for Panthers is number 3 Paul MomirovskiCentre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will Hopoate
Centre for Panthers is number 4 Matt BurtonCentre for Bulldogs is number 4 Aaron Schoupp
Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'oWinger for Bulldogs is number 5 Nick Meaney
Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome LuaiFive-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Brandon Wakeham
Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan ClearyHalfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jake Averillo
Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses LeotaProp for Bulldogs is number 8 Jack Hetherington
Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Bulldogs is number 14 Bradley Deitz
Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-HarrisProp for Bulldogs is number 10 Luke Thompson
2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Adam Elliott
2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Matt Doorey
Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah YeoLock for Bulldogs is number 13 Josh Jackson
Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Tyrone MayInterchange for Bulldogs is number 9 Jackson Topine
Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott SorensenInterchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Joe Stimson
Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Matthew EisenhuthInterchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Dylan Napa
Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Spencer LeniuInterchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Ava Seumanufagai
Reserve for Panthers is number 21 Izack TagoReserve for Bulldogs is number 20 Corey Waddell
- Referee: Matt Noyen
- Touch Judge: Jon Stone
- Touch Judge: Mark Bohan
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall
Adam Elliott v Viliame Kikau: Indigenous Round is an important occasion that will surely motivate Adam Elliott when the Pack tackle the Panthers this weekend. The backrower will be the first to admit that he has been a little quiet since starting the season well in 2021. But many will be expecting Elliott to prove the doubters wrong in a 'David vs Goliath' match up across the park this Saturday afternoon.
Viliame Kikau has built a formidable backrow partnership with Kurt Capewell and Isaah Yeo. The Fijian international's presence on the left edge has created havoc for opposing teams, often creating space and opportunities for Jarome Luai and Matt Burton to exploit their rival's defensive line.
Elliott has been busy in defence in 2021 despite shifting from the back of the scrum to the left edge. The second rower has notched up an average of 97 running metres, 35 tackles with an 87% tackle efficiency for the season so far.
Averaging roughly 60 minutes per game, Ivan Cleary has used Kikau as a game break in pivotal moments for the Panthers. The forward has racked up an average of 111 running metres, 19 tackles made and an 87% tackle efficiency per game in this year's 2021 NRL Premiership.
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs travel west to face the Penrith Panthers at BlueBet Stadium this Saturday afternoon. Don't miss out on this week's Round 12 fixture with tickets on sale at here.