Date: Saturday 10th May
Venue: CBUS Super Stadium
Gold Coast Titans: David Mead, Kevin Gordon, William Zillman, Brad Takairangi, Anthony Don, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, Beau Falloon, Nate Myles (c), Greg Bird (c), David Taylor, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Mark Ioane, Ryan James, Mark Minichiello, Matt Srama, Cody Nelson
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Greg Inglis, Alex Johnston, Dylan Walker, Kirisome Auva’a, Bryson Goodwin, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, George Burgess, Apisai Koroisau, David Tyrrell, Kyle Turner, Ben Te’o, Sam Burgess. Interchange: Cameron McInnes, Jason Clark, Chris McQueen, Luke Burgess, Joel Reddy, Ben Lowe, Joe Picker
The Gold Coast Titans, the surprise packet of the 2014 NRL season, will face a strong test of their premiership credentials in round nine when they play hosts to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
While the Titans have been performing strongly, the Rabbitohs have been a mixed bag so far, although have been improving as the year goes on, currently sitting in 7th place, two wins adrift from their rivals this week, who hold third place on the ladder after just two losses.
The Titans second row of Greg Bird, Nate Myles, and Ashley Harrison have been particularly impressive this season all chalking up around the hundred metre mark for the Titans in their last start, a 22-6 demolition of a resurgent Wests Tigers outfit.
The Rabbitohs’ pack is highly rated however, largely on the workload of the Burgess boys, who, like the rest of the Rabbitohs’ side, started slowly but have been putting in the hard yards more recently, as shown by Burgess charging run on a drop out return against the Bulldogs back in round seven.
Sam Burgess chalked up 167m in his side’s late win over Brisbane Broncos in round eight, while brother and prop George Burgess was outstanding for the South Sydney side charging for 249m throughout the game and making 30 tackles.
It is this area of the field that the Titans will look to control, if they can contain the monstrous Souths’ pack, they can give their fast men, in the back line space, and the creativity of Albert Kelly, and the speed of David Mead, William Zillman and co should allow them to score the points needed to claim the points.
The big issue for the Titans is that halves pairing Albert Kelly and Aiden Seizer are yet to fully prove their fitness for the game, if the pair is ruled out, it will be a tough ask for the titans side, and a big blow for their chances in the match.
However, if the pair are fit, and the middle of the field is won by Souths, expect a high scoring affair, provided both teams ball handling skills is on show, and the weather is fine.
The advantage of playing on the Gold Coast is the due that can settle in at cooler areas shouldn’t cause issues for the players at a 5:30pm Saturday evening fixture.
Even if Souths’ forward pack manages to gain better field position, this isn’t a game breaker, with the Titans scoring most of their tries from outside of their attacking twenty this season.
This ability to threaten from anywhere makes them a huge danger to any team, and when the Rabbitohs forwards start to tire, the speed of the titans could prove too hot to handle.
Titans by four, if Kelly and Seizer play, otherwise Bunnies will take the game handsomely.