The New Zealand Warriors and Gold Coast Titans will go head to head on Sunday at Mount Smart Stadium. Both teams are going into round 5 with 1 win and 3 losses behind them and will be looking to improve on their previous performances.
LAST TIME OUT
Round 4 did not start off well for the Warriors last Sunday. There was a lot of hype around Kieran Foran debuting, but unfortunately for the club he suffered a hamstring tear while warming up just minutes before kick off. The Dragons who were dubbed the wooden spooners proved the critics wrong once again as they jumped to a 20-2 lead at the 23-minute mark. Nearing halftime the Dragons began to slow down which allowed the Warriors to score a try thanks to Isaac Luke and another one by Ken Maumalo which got the Warriors back in the game. Eventually the Dragons began to dominate again and the Warriors continued to make mistake after mistake. The final score was 26-12 to the Dragons.
The Gold Coast Titans suffered their third loss of the NRL 2017 season against the North Queensland Cowboys last Saturday night. The Titans started slow, and have made a habit of chasing the lead throughout all of their games so far this season. Due to the Titans poor start, the Cowboys were able to post early points against them and managed to gain a 10-0 lead by the 19th minute and held onto the lead till halftime making it 20-12. The titans managed to score an additional 2 tries in the second half but ultimately their slow start got the better of them and the Cowboys came out on top with a score of 32-26.
The key battle this round is going to be between the Titans attack and the Warriors ability to hold their defence together. The Titans have the equal third-best attacking record in the competition due to their speed in the back line and the ability of their forwards to produce second-phase play in the attacking 20. The Warriors forwards have been struggling this season and quite frankly – have not been doing their job. If the Warriors want to have a chance at taking a second win for the season, the forwards are going to have to work hard to contain the Titans attack.
Although the Titans have proved to be the better team due to their performances so far this year, the Warriors have a huge advantage playing at home, especially since the Titans have a history of flopping when playing at Mount Smart. The Warriors have not had a successful start to their season and fans and the New Zealand public in general are putting pressure on the team to perform. This intense pressure on the Warriors should be enough for them to get their act together and finally claim another win since round 1.
Warriors by 8
New Zealand Warriors vs Gold Coast Titans at Mount Smart Stadium Auckland, 4.00pm (NZT) Sunday
1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c) 2 Blake Ayshford 3 David Fusitu’a 4 Solomone Kata 5 Ken Maumalo 6 Kieran Foran 7 Shaun Johnson 8 Charlie Gubb 9 Issac Luke 10 Jacob Lillyman 11 Bodene Thompson 12 Ryan Hoffman 13 Simon Mannering 14 Nathaniel Roache 15 James Gavet 16 Sam Lisone 17 Ligi Sao 18 Albert Vete 20 Bunty Afoa 21 Mason Lino 22 Mafoa’aeata Hingano
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