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PREVIEW | Round 11 Gold Coast Titans vs Newcastle Knights

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After ten rounds it’s a case of deja vu for Titans fans – such as myself – with only three wins. This week they clash with a Newcastle squad who had high expectations and shown great glimpses of what is to come for the footy-mad region.

 

TEAM FORM GUIDE

Titans coach Brennan is doing his best to find the perfect combinations, but his squad simply does not have the depth that works in his favour.

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The Knights have a 5-5 record after two straight losses, but they produce silly errors at crucial moments. Coach Nathan Brown will have them believing they can win on Saturday against a team down on confidence, essential if they want to play finals.

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SQUAD NEWS

GOLD COAST TITANS

Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Brenko Lee, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 AJ Brimson, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Ryan James (c), 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Keegan Hipgrave, 13 Jai Arrow

Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Max King, 16 Jack Stockwell, 17 Moeaki Fotuaika

Jai Arrow returns from a rib injury at lock, pushing Jarrod Wallace to prop and Max King to the bench. Nathan Peats -at hooker – is back from a rib injury, pushing Mitch Rein to the bench with Bryce Cartwright dumped from the 17. Kevin Proctor is named despite seeming to suffer a groin tear in a Cameron Smith tackle last week.

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NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

Knights: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Nathan Ross, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Brock Lamb, 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Josh King, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Mitchell Barnett, 13 Aidan Guerra (c)

Interchange: 14 Danny Levi, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jacob Saifiti, 17 Daniel Saifiti

Newcastle makes one change, with Jacob Saifiti replacing Luke Yates on the bench.

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KEY MATCH UP

There’s a key match up in the halves. One of the up-and-coming stars – touted as the new JT – Ash Taylor needs to flick that switch that has seen him play a key role. He has to go out and play with intensity, rather than staying behind the scenes. With the boot he may be that extra bit that leads to victory.

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KEY STAT

For the Titans to win: I refer to my point on the young gun Taylor – he must lift and lead his pack around the park.

For the Knights to win: If the Knights get a little bit of magic from their halves and have a high completion rate, they will be boosted.

 

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Saturday 19 May
Venue: CBUS Super Stadium, Robina
Kick-off: 3PM

THE BEARDED ONE’S FINAL THOUGHT

It’s close in the betting, with the Knights just holding favouritism. The Titans competed for the most of the game against Melbourne last round, but could not hold on and got swept away against a dominant pack. This is a key clash for the seasons of both of these teams. I really see Taylor showing what he can do and this will translate into a display of leadership for his teammates.

The news this week of workhorse Jarrod Wallace re-signing this week – as well as the continued tilt for a Maroons jersey by Arrow – I see a home win for the Aqua Army.

Tip: Titans by 3 points

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