After a disappointing loss to the Melbourne Storm in Round 4, the Bulldogs return to Sydney to face defending champions Penrith Panthers at CommBank Stadium on Sunday evening (6:15PM AEST).
After a disappointing loss to the Melbourne Storm in Round 4, the Bulldogs return to Sydney to face defending champions Penrith Panthers at CommBank Stadium on Sunday evening (6-15pm).
In what is a tough draw for a team still trying to forge combinations and find its best form under coach Trent Barrett, this will be a big test, as the undefeated mountain men look to add a fifth consecutive victory to their 2022 resume.
Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Matt DuftyFullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Brent NadenWinger for Panthers is number 2 Charlie Staines
Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Braidon BurnsCentre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Jake AverilloCentre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Josh Addo-CarrWinger for Panthers is number 5 Taylan May
Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Matt BurtonFive-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Kyle FlanaganHalfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Luke ThompsonProp for Panthers is number 8 Matthew Eisenhuth
Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-KingHooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Paul VaughanProp for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Corey Waddell2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Tevita Pangai Junior2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Josh JacksonLock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Brandon WakehamInterchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch Kenny
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Max KingInterchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott Sorensen
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Joe StimsonInterchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 23 Ava SeumanufagaiInterchange for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman Salmon
Replacement for Bulldogs is number 15 Chris PatoloReplacement for Panthers is number 21 Lindsay Smith
- Referee: Chris Butler
- Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall
Kyle Flanagan receives his first call up for the season with a view towards adding some structure to the backline and allowing Matt Burton to have more freedom to play his natural game, while Jake Averillo will continue in the centres. Meanwhile, Burton and winger Brent Naden will play for the first time against their old club.
Bailey Biondi-Odo has been named 18th man, with Barrett once again able to name a mostly unchanged line-up.
Ivan Cleary does the same at Penrith, with Viliame Kikau looking like a certain starter at this stage of the week after suffering no long terms effects from the head knock he suffered last week against the Rabbitohs.
Thus far, the Panthers have knocked off Manly, Newcastle, St George-Illawarra and South Sydney in what has been an impressive start to their title defence, while the Bulldogs will look to re-create the defensive effort they showed in the first three rounds. Off the back of that, increased point production can occur; something the combination of Burton and Flanagan will be hoping to achieve.
The players will be under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task ahead, yet this is a chance for the team to show the grit and determination to bounce back, that is a hallmark of all the best teams.
In order for the Panthers to be overcome in Round 5, the Dogs must start well and match them in the middle.
Matt Burton v Jarome Luai: Burton is one of a few ex-Panthers in this Dogs line up, with Brent Naden also up against his old club and Tevita Pangai jnr facing off against the club he moonlighted for late last year. But Burton was the one the Panthers really would've loved to have kept and who was the subject of a tug-of-war between the two clubs for a while last year before nailing down a first grade spot in the centres. Back in his preferred position of five-eighth, he faces off against the player who kept him out of the Penrith No.6 jersey last year in a duel that will have a big say on how this match plays out.