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Bulldogs v Cowboys: Round 1 Pregame Notes

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs open their 2022 season on the road this Sunday night against the North Queensland Cowboys at 6:15PM (AEDT) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

It is the most anticipated start to a Bulldogs season for some time, with coach Trent Barrett finally in possession of a team he feels could gel nicely. After a tough few seasons Canterbury look set for something much better this season, the question being, just how far can that improvement take them in 2022?

Team News

Bulldogs: The dawn of a new era at Belmore with Matt Dufty, Josh Addo-Carr, Brent Naden, Matt Burton, Paul Vaughan, Max King and Braidon Burns all making their club debuts.

Burns has beaten out Aaron Schoupp for a spot in the centres.

Jake Averillo will call the shots from halfback alongside Burton, while Jeremy Marshall-King fills the vital dummy half role with Bailey Biondi-Odo backing him up from the bench.

Cowboys: Inspirational skipper Jason Taumalolo is back on deck after missing the trials with a minor hamstring complaint. Along with promising back-rower Jeremiah Nanai, they are the two new faces into the side which took care of the Broncos in impressive fashion in the club's final trial.

Chad Townsend, Peta Hiku and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown are set to make their Cowboys debuts.

Hiku has been named at centre, while Taunoa-Brown has completed an impressive pre-season with a starting front-row berth alongside Coen Hess.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
    Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Matt Dufty
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Jayden Okunbor
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Valentine Holmes
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Braidon Burns
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Peta Hiku
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Brent Naden
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
  • Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Tom Dearden
    Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Matt Burton
  • Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Chad Townsend
    Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jake Averillo

Forwards

  • Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Paul Vaughan
  • Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
    Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
  • Prop for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 23 Ava Seumanufagai
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Jeremiah Nanai
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Jack Hetherington
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 17 Tom Gilbert
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 15 Corey Waddell
  • Lock for Cowboys is number 16 Mitchell Dunn
    Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Josh Jackson

Interchange

  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 10 Coen Hess
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 8 Luke Thompson
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 11 Heilum Luki
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Bailey Biondi-Odo
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Jordan McLean
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Max King
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 18 Jake Granville
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Chris Patolo

Reserves

  • Replacement for Cowboys is number 19 Scott Drinkwater
  • Reserve for Bulldogs is number 20 Aaron Schoupp

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ben Cummins
  • Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
  • Touch Judge: Nick Morel
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

The courage in the forwards remains with captain Josh Jackson and Luke Thompson looking to lead from the front, yet it is the new addition of Paul Vaughan that stand to add some much needed starch to a pack that was rarely embarrassed in 2021.

Elsewhere, Jack Hetherington and Jeremy Marshall-King will be seeking breakout seasons, yet it is in the backs where the Bulldogs will be looking to make the most significant changes.

Matt Dufty Mid-Week Press Conference: Round 1 v Cowboys

Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Brent Naden and Matt Dufty join Jake Averillo in a backline that Bulldogs fans are looking to see. Whilst the trials showed just how difficult it is to connect and combine immediately with so many new faces in the line-up, there is no doubt that the Bulldogs will be a better side as the season unfolds and a quick start against the Cowboys would be a great way to open the 2022 campaign.

North Queensland suffered an equally disappointing season in 2021, with a 15th placed finish barely better than the Bulldogs. Many pundits have the Queenslanders at long odds to make the finals this season and the Bulldogs as one of the big improvers, with the new talent on board, fit and ready to make a difference.

It stands to be a cracking Round 1 affair, with the new Bulldog breed hoping to make an opening statement on foreign soil and the Cowboys also looking to kick start a season they hope to be better than the one just passed.

Desperation will be a key component of this clash, with Canterbury committed to write off poor trial form and the Cowboys determined to win at home to start the year. It could well be a tight one, with a win for either team providing the most perfect start to season 2022.

Key Match-Up

Matt Dufty v Hamiso Tabuia-Fidow: Arguably two of the fastest fullbacks in the NRL, Tabuia-Fidow and Dufty have a different playing style but both are key players for their respective teams. While Tabuia-Fidow is a powerful runner with the ball, Dufty is like an extra play-maker and his combination with halves Matt Burton and Jake Averillo will be a threat for the Cowboys defence. However, the Bulldogs will need to kick away from Tabuia-Fidow as he is a danger from kick returns.

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs play their first 2022 NRL Season fixture against the North Queensland Cowboys at Queensland Country Bank Stadium this Sunday evening, kicking off at 6:15PM AEDT. Tickets are available to our Round 1 match here.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.