The Bulldogs are serious about steering clear of the wooden spoon if their last two performances are any guide.
The Dogs are chasing a third straight win after consecutive upsets of Cronulla and Newcastle.
Coach Dean Pay has got his players believing in each other and any rivals underestimating them in the run to the finals do so at their own peril.
Brisbane's draw with the Warriors last week wasn't much better than a loss, leaving them with so little room for error over the final eight rounds they simply can't afford to lose to a team below them on the ladder.
Match: Broncos v Bulldogs
Round 18 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Broncos: Rookie Herbie Farnworth drops out, with David Fifita named at centre and Rhys Kennedy joining the bench. Keenan Palasia dropped off the extended bench an hour before kick-off. Corey Oates returns on the right wing, with Jamayne Issako swapping to left wing. Xavier Coates was culled from the squad 24 hours out from kick-off along with Izaia Perese.
Bulldogs: The Bulldogs are 1-17, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Kerrod Holland dropped off the reserves list. Injuries to Aiden Tolman (ribs) and Sauaso Sue (knee) forced a reshuffle in the pack with Ofahiki Ogden coming into the starting side and Danny Fualalo joining the bench. Adam Elliott has been promoted to the starting side at lock and Chris Smith goes to the bench. Fa'amanu Brown and Kayne Kalache were omitted 24 hours before kick-off.
Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Anthony MilfordFullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Winger for Broncos is number 2 Corey OatesWinger for Bulldogs is number 2 Nick Meaney
Centre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni StaggsCentre for Bulldogs is number 3 Marcelo Montoya
Centre for Broncos is number 16 David FifitaCentre for Bulldogs is number 4 Will Hopoate
Winger for Broncos is number 5 Jamayne IsaakoWinger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis Smith
Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Darius BoydFive-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Brandon Wakeham
Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Jake TurpinHalfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jack Cogger
Prop for Broncos is number 8 Matthew LodgeProp for Bulldogs is number 8 Ofahiki Ogden
Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Andrew McCulloughHooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Michael Lichaa
Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne HaasProp for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan Napa
2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Alex Glenn2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Tevita Pangai Junior2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Corey Harawira-Naera
Lock for Broncos is number 13 Thomas FleglerLock for Bulldogs is number 13 Adam Elliott
Interchange for Broncos is number 14 James SegeyaroInterchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Jeremy Marshall-King
Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Joe OfahengaueInterchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Renouf Toomaga
Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Patrick CarriganInterchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Danny Fualalo
Interchange for Broncos is number 18 Rhys KennedyInterchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Chris Smith
- Referee: Ben Cummins
- Referee: Belinda Sharpe
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Michael Wise
- Video Referee: Ben Galea
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
The clash between Brisbane duo Payne Haas and Matt Lodge and Bulldogs props Dylan Napa and Ofahiki Ogden will go a long way towards deciding who wins the game. If Napa is at his explosive best and inspires Ogden to play a blinder then the Doggies could make it an unprecedented hat-trick of wins for 2019.
For the Broncos to win
They have to contain the Warriors up front and keep turning them around with an effective kick-and-chase game. Anthony Seibold will be banking on Darius Boyd and Anthony Milford to provide good direction, while Kotoni Staggs has to stay defensively sharp for 80 minutes against an in-form Will Hopoate.
For the Bulldogs to win
The Dogs showed no signs of panic or stress when they fell behind early last week and they'll need the same type of poise and self-belief on Thursday night. Two straight wins has them feeling good about themselves and they'll head to Brisbane more confident than they've been all year. Brisbane winger Corey Oates is due for a hat-trick and Canterbury's outside backs can't allow him to get rolling.
Brett Kimmorley says
Canterbury have found some form. Defensively they have been very good lately. They have only scored 20 points four times this year and they have won each time. Can they do that again? There has been a form turnaround from Brisbane lately, their young forwards are looking good. Broncos by 4
Will Hopoate showed why he's still one of the game's top centres with a marvellous performance against Newcastle. Hopoate had 25 runs for a game-high 235 metres, including 86 post-contact metres. He scored a try, made 21 tackles and also finished with seven tackle breaks and a line break.
And another thing ...
The Bulldogs' 68 percent completion rate against Newcastle was well below their 79 percent average for the season. They had more missed tackles than Newcastle, conceded more penalties and finished with more errors, but once they got a sniff of victory they just looked like they wanted it more than the Knights.