Addo-Carr to make Origin return as Bulldogs beat Titans
Canterbury winger Josh Addo-Carr is poised for a State of Origin recall after making a solid return from an ankle injury in the Bulldogs' come-from-behind 20-18 defeat of Gold Coast.
NSW is low on experienced outside back options for the May 31 series opener and all eyes were on Addo-Carr when he took the field on Sunday for the first time since a syndesmosis injury on Good Friday.
In his only game before Origin teams are announced on Monday, Addo-Carr finished with a try and 81 metres after the Titans controlled territory and limited his opportunities in the first half.
The Australian international was defensively sound at Accor Stadium, rock-solid under the high ball and proved his injury had not diminished his trademark speed
That is likely to be enough for NSW coach Brad Fittler, especially given Addo-Carr's form since his controversial omission from last year's series, plus his 12 games of Origin experience.
"It was good to have him back," coach Cameron Ciraldo said.
"Foxx is an experienced player, he's been on that (Origin) stage before, he knows what it takes so I'm sure if he's given an opportunity, he'll do NSW proud."
Queensland's Origin hopefuls David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui established the Titans' 14-0 halftime lead but the Bulldogs rallied as halfback Matt Burton found his rhythm after the break.
The Bulldogs seized the advantage for the first time when winger-turned-middle forward Jayden Okunbor found a hole in the defence after a set restart at close range in the final three minutes.
Fa'asuamaleaui faces a nervous wait for the match review committee's charge sheet after raising his forearm on Reed Mahoney as the Bulldogs hooker attempted a tackle. He then up-ended Tevita Pangai with a dangerous throw.
The Titans captain was placed on report for the second incident but appears more likely to face fines than bans.
Fifita opened the scoring by barging over down the short side in the third minute and is a strong chance to start on an edge for the Maroons in place of the suspended Felise Kaufusi, despite a quieter second half.
Fa'asuamaleaui helped the Titans extend their lead just before the break when he pulled his arm free of the Bulldog defenders and offloaded to Joe Stimson.
Mahoney was placed on report for a hip-drop-style tackle on Moeaki Fotuaika, swinging around and bringing Fotuaika down in an awkward position, though the Bulldog later said he didn't think the tackle qualified as a hip-drop infringement.
"I didn't think it was," Mahoney said.
"But that's what they've seen at the time. I definitely didn't agree with him (the referee) but it's something they're trying to stamp out so I understand that.
"There probably does need to be a bit more clarity but I didn't think it was as bad as what it looked."
Tries to Jake Averillo and Jacob Kiraz came directly after Burton's signature bomb kicks, while Addo-Carr's was on the back of the halfback's line break.
Okunbor snatched a win at the death that hoists the Bulldogs off the bottom of the ladder. The loss continues the Titans' recent trend of second-half fades.
"We again found a way to not win a game. We did everything right," said coach Justin Holbrook.
"You don't lead 14-0 and not know what you're doing. We're just finding ways to come unstuck.
"We were in complete control of the game and we didn't win it. I feel awful."