Brimming with confidence after his maiden State of Origin call-up, Matt Burton will carry high expectations he can continue his NSW form when he returns to the NRL in Canterbury colours.
Burton was one of the Blues' most impressive performers as they tied the series in Perth, scoring a try, setting up another and troubling the Queensland back three with his towering bombs.
He returns to a Bulldogs side riding high on the back of two straight wins and they will look to make it three on the spin for the first time since 2019 when they face Cronulla at Commbank Stadium on Saturday.
Burton reverts to five-eighth after playing at centre for NSW.
The Dogs will be without interim coach Mick Potter, who has contracted COVID-19, with assistant coach Craig Sandercock stepping into the role.
"Matt has come in with a spring in his step and the first thing he said on Wednesday was: 'I want to do the full session and I'm really keen'," Sandercock said on Friday.
"With Matt, I think the boys are just excited at how well he played, representing the club and himself, his family so well and he's full of confidence.
"He has worked so hard on his kicking, and that's just an extra string to his bow and he's found a bit of a niche in that regard.
"He's got great football awareness and the longer he plays with this group of boys the better we'll go."
Potter will be in contact with Sandercock throughout the game as the Dogs aim to continue their hot run which has them playing their most adventurous football in years.
Between rounds one and 10 this year Canterbury managed to score an average of fewer than 10 points per game.
Since Potter replaced Trent Barrett they have averaged 27 points per game.
"I've kept the focus on the attack and David Furner has done the defence so nothing has really changed," Sandercock said.
"You may talk a little bit more to the group than individually (when you are head coach), but nothing's really changed."
Canterbury will be without Corey Allan at centre, with debutant Declan Casey named to replace him.
Australian Associated Press
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