Round 20: Canterbury v Gold Coast preview
The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs - now, work with me here - were hosting the Gold Coast Titans, at Cbus Super Stadum on the Gold Coast on Sunday afternoon.
Imagine a world where the NRL moved their entire league up to Queensland, just like when the people of Springfield put their entire town on wheels and relocated everything (see, the Simpsons predicted this, kinda). What a time to be alive.
And now - the game's been moved to Monday night, 6pm, in Brisbane. Interestingly, not the first time Canterbury have hosted the Titans at Suncorp.
The Bulldogs come into this clash on the back of a 42-22 loss to Cronulla, where the Bulldogs played 20 minutes of rugby league, and 60 minutes of showing why the majority of this roster is being turned over at the end of the year.
The Titans, on the other hand, put in a quality 80 minute performance, with a dominating 32-10 win over St George Illawarra, at one point running in 4 unanswered tries to put the result beyond doubt.
In team news, the Bulldogs have made a raft of changes. Corey Allan moves from the wing to fullback, and Nick Meaney moves to the wing from fullback. The curious case of Kyle Flanagan continues, being named in the halves with Jake Averillo partnering him, and Lachlan Lewis dropped to the extended bench. Adam Elliott returns to the side after six weeks out injured. Joe Stimson and Renouf Atoni come out of the side, Matt Doorey is back in via the bench. A replacement will need to be made for the now freshly suspended Luke Thompson up front.
For the Titans, why change a winning formula? Just the one change, and it's enforced. Esan Marsters comes in to replace the suspended Patrick Herbert. Toby Sexton remains at #7, after a quality debut performance last week.
Last time they met was in Round 11, at the same venue, with the Titans running out 30-20 winners, in a match that was very much in the balance with 5 minutes to go.
Who to watch: For Canterbury, I need to discuss the selection of the wingers. Jayden Okunbor has spent the last two weeks so far off his wing, that he was in Robina Town Centre, up the road from Cbus Super Stadium. On the other wing, we have the impressive fullback Nick Meaney, who has been out-muscled and out-played every time he's been played out of position on the wing.
So on the back of that, for the Titans, watch for their outside backs - Greg Marzhew, Brian Kelly, Esan Marsters and Corey Thompson - to be the beneficiaries of the inevitable gameplan to exploit the Bulldogs team selection.
The favourite: At the time of writing, Gold Coast were $1.25 favourites and for good reason.
My tip: Yeah. Nah. Gold Coast by plenty.