NRL Rd 1 - Cowboys v Bulldogs
TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 13: Matt Dufty of the Bulldogs makes a break during the round one NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Qld Country Bank Stadium, on March 13, 2022, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The Canterbury Bulldogs have dropped star fullback Matt Dufty for their big encounter with reigning premiers in the Penrith Panthers at BlueBet Stadium on Friday night.

Canterbury were hoping until the last hour before the match to announce Dufty's absence from the side, but multiple news sources have already heard of the former Dragon's culling.

Dufty will now be either the 18th or 19th man for the Panther clash.

With Dufty being dropped, Mick Potter now faces a race against time to fill the same position he represented with aplomb in years gone by.

SEE ALSO: The ruthless blueprint which can give the Bulldogs back their bite

Corey Allan is the likely replacement for Dufty, who scored a try in last week's NSW Cup loss over St George Illawarra at Belmore, but winger Josh Addo-Carr is also in the mix.

Allan has only just come back from injury and was expected to be on the reserve list in the 22 jumper for the game, but after Dufty was axed, Allan's role in the side could become even more important.

Vexingly, the Dufty culling comes after he had three try assists during the loss against St George Illawarra last week and also managed to poll a Dally M vote.

The fullback has been rumored to leave the club to head overseas to England, but the club shut down those rumors on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite the club axing the spine member, the Bulldogs are hoping Dufty can still be in their best side come the second half of the season.

Canterbury currently sit last on the NRL ladder with two wins and 10 losses, and face an uphill battle on Friday night, travelling to Penrith to take on the ladder leaders.