Gold Coast out to tame fancied Dogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gold Coast out to tame fancied Dogs

By Jim Morton 16/07/2009 05:36:12 PM Comments (0)

Quiet achievers Gold Coast can boldly announce themselves as genuine premiership contenders and remain the NRL's only unbeaten home team by defying an ultra-short turnaround on Friday night.

Outright second place is the prize for the Titans and the more-fancied Bulldogs who have both taken gambles to stage their clash as the second match in a Suncorp Stadium double-header.

Gold Coast back-up only four days after their gritty 18-12 win over Parramatta while the Canterbury club moved their home game to Brisbane, where their supporters will be well and truly outnumbered by those cheering for the Titans.

The Coast's quest for a maiden finals appearance and greater respect as one of the competition's front-runners gained a boost with fullback Preston Campbell cleared to return and Queensland second-rower Ashley Harrison completing training on Thursday.

Harrison failed to finish Wednesday night's 28-16 loss to NSW due to an ankle injury but club officials are confident he will play.

The Bulldogs have brought an extended squad north with NSW centre Josh Morris in doubt due to a bad cork, but key Blues teammates Brett Kimmorley and Michael Ennis will take the reins after starring two nights earlier.

Although the Titans believe they may have handed their opponents Bulldogs an advantage with one extra day to prepare, Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore denied his team - without injured duo Ben Hannant and Jamal Idris and the suspended Greg Eastwood - had the inside rail.

"Both teams are level pegging there," he said.

"We've got an extra day but we had to travel from New Zealand and we've got the three blokes backing up (from Origin duty).

"I think both teams have got a bit of a struggle."

The Titans claim they have flown under the radar as pacesetters St George Illawarra and the Bulldogs have received most of the attention. But the Bulldogs, who were beaten in round three at Skilled Park, are wary.

"They've been with us and St George the most consistent side this season," Moore said.

"They've been in good form and have quality youth and experience and they have experience in key positions with (Mat) Rogers, (Scott) Prince and Campbell and Nathan Friend is very good out of dummy-half."

The Bulldogs, like the Coast, haven't lost a home game in 2009.

Only four NRL teams in the past 15 years - Canberra (1994), Manly (1996), Brisbane (2000) and Melbourne (2007) - have gone through the regular season unbeaten at home.

All four went on to win the premiership.

Moore backed his team to keep their 2009 home record intact in Brisbane, especially after the Dogs have won three of their past four matches at the old Lang Park.

"It's nice to win all your home games and obviously this one taking it away is a little different," he said.

"But our record at the new Suncorp since it was redeveloped is pretty good.

"We love playing there and we've got a lot of really good support whenever we travel to Brisbane."

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