Go back a month and Vodafone Warriors fans were probably licking their lips at the thought of facing a struggling Bulldogs side at home in Auckland.
But tomorrow night they will find themselves playing a revitalised Dogs team who pushed the second-placed Cowboys all the way in round 21.
After leading with half an hour to go, the Bulldogs fell just short of footing it with North Queensland but they will have taken plenty of confidence from the performance and still have two wins from their last three matches, with their key players in good form.
The Vodafone Warriors on the other hand were never in the contest against the Rabbitohs in an eventual 48-10 defeat, with a number of worrying defensive lapses which saw South Sydney at times stroll through for tries both in the middle of the park and on the edges.
Neither side will be playing finals football this year, but the Vodafone Warriors will be desperate to perform well in their third game at Mount Smart Stadium this year, while Canterbury-Bankstown will want to continue their late-season resurgence with another victory.
Vodafone Warriors: Another change at five-eighth with Daejarn Asi back in the halves and Wayde Egan moving from No.6 back to his usual position of hooker. Freddy Lussick goes back to the bench and Taniela Otukolo drops to the reserves. Viliami Vailea is back in the centres for his first NRL game since breaking his jaw in round 12, so Euan Aitken goes back to the pack in place of Bayley Sironen. Josh Curran is the new lock, replacing Aaron Pene who is out with a leg injury.
Bulldogs: Tevita Pangai Jnr has remained in Australia for family reasons and was unavailable for selection so Raymond Faitala-Mariner will start at lock as he did last week. Rookie Harrison Edwards joins the interchange after serving as the Bulldogs' replacement player in round 21.
Match: Warriors v Bulldogs
Round 22 -
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece WalshFullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Jake Averillo
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-ZelezniakWinger for Bulldogs is number 2 Jacob Kiraz
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Viliami VaileaCentre for Bulldogs is number 3 Aaron Schoupp
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Marcelo MontoyaCentre for Bulldogs is number 4 Braidon Burns
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Edward KosiWinger for Bulldogs is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Daejarn AsiFive-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Matt Burton
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun JohnsonHalfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Kyle Flanagan
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-BlakeProp for Bulldogs is number 8 Max King
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde EganHooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Tohu HarrisProp for Bulldogs is number 10 Paul Vaughan
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Euan Aitken2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Jack Murchie2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 16 Harrison Edwards
Lock for Warriors is number 15 Bunty AfoaLock for Bulldogs is number 13 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
Interchange for Warriors is number 13 Josh CurranInterchange for Bulldogs is number 12 Jackson Topine
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Freddy LussickInterchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Zach Dockar-Clay
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Eliesa KatoaInterchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Joe Stimson
Interchange for Warriors is number 22 Tom AleInterchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Chris Patolo
Replacement for Warriors is number 17 Jackson FreiReplacement for Bulldogs is number 20 Kurtis Morrin
- Referee: Chris Butler
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
Tohu Harris v Josh Jackson: The forward leaders for their respective teams. Both topped the tackle count in their game last week, with Harris also averaging 10 metres each time he carried the ball against South Sydney. Jackson has been somewhat of an unsung hero in the Bulldogs’ improving attack, last week handling the ball more than anyone outside of his side's halves and hooker.
The Bulldogs thrive off the second-phase play generated by the likes of Matt Burton and co always sniffing around for an offload, which the Bulldogs produce more of than any team bar the Eels and Raiders this year, at an average of 11.3 per game. The Vodafone Warriors on the other hand have the lowest offload count in the competition at an average of 6.4 per game, despite having players like fullback Reece Walsh who are dangerous when plays can be extended.