This game is very unlikely going to be a key clash on the NRL calendar when we look at the paths for both teams in terms of success for the rounds up until now.
The Bulldogs are chasing their tail down in 15th spot, suffering their 10th loss of the season with a two point loss against Dragons last week. They are becoming known as a team with limited points to provide.
The Titans gave the Bunnies a scare in a two point loss last week, but close losses do not count for anything in this league or on the ladder – a loss here will all but destroy any chance of the Gold Coast lads playing footy in September. For this to happen they need to strengthen their defence as they are currently the worst in this area across the league.
The Titans head into this clash with five of their starting players still unsigned for next season and this needs addressing and would be boosted with a few wins in the coming rounds. These players are:
- Anthony Don celebrates his 100th game for the club this weekend with coach Garth Brennan’s backing to retain him. At age 30 he has scored 58 tries in 99 games and has become a cult figure at the Titans. He sits second on the Titans’ all-time try-scorers list behind Mead’s 67 in 147 matches.
- Kane Elgey who has fielded interest from three Super League teams and three NRL clubs. Currently playing for Tweed Heads in the Intrust Super Cup since round seven, and doubtful he will be with the Titans next season unless he gets a call up to start in the near future. Warrington and Catalans Dragons (who boast former Titans David Mead and Greg Bird) are believed to be two of those who have approached him. With regained confidence, he could be a sensation in the Super League but he believes he can still cut it in the NRL.
- Brenko Lee – has been made an offer to stay and is yet to give the Titans an answer.
- Dale Copley
- Keegan Hipgrave – keen to stay but has also fielded several offers
Bulldogs: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 Brett Morris, 3 John Olive, 4 Will Hopoate, 5 Marcelo Montoya, 6 Jeremy Marshall-King, 7 Matt Frawley, 8 Aaron Woods, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Josh Jackson (c), 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13 Adam Elliott
Interchange: 14 Clay Priest, 15 Kerrod Holland, 16 Renouf Toomaga, 17 Aiden Tolman
The Bulldogs have made only one change to the 17 with Blues Origin prop David Klemmer returning to the starting side and Renouf Toomaga returning to the bench.
Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Brenko Lee, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 AJ Brimson, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jack Stockwell, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Ryan James (c), 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Keegan Hipgrave, 13 Jai Arrow
Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Will Matthews, 16 Moeaki Fotuaika, 17 Morgan Boyle
With Jarrod Wallace being suspended it means Jack Stockwell moves into the starting side and Will Matthews comes onto the bench.
This will be a clash of the big men and means that the big boys up front must step up including Ryan James, Jai Arrow and Kevin Proctor. They will be greatly called on to provide the new look halves combination of Taylor and Brimson to find those massive holes in the Canterbury defensive line to be able to come away with the win.
David Klemmer v Ryan James: David Klemmer has been one of the Bulldogs most consistent performers in a disappointing season and is on the hunt for another strong performance as the Bulldogs return to Belmore. Ryan James crossed the stripe twice against the Rabbitohs last week, and is always heavily involved in both attack and defence.
For the Bulldogs to win: With a loss this week it may lead to the Dogs dropping to the cellar. The finals are out of reach but their performances need an injection of urgency or the wooden spoon awaits. Canterbury have won the last three games between these squads. The Titans also haven’t won outside of Queensland this season.
For the Titans to win: Over various games this season this squad have been in the hunt throughout the eighty when starting as unwanted outsiders such as last round against the Rabbitohs. To be any chance of a shot at finals footy they must get back to being competitive and remain in the hunt over the back-end of season.
Both coaches are also in their debut season as NRL head coach.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 16th June
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground
The Bearded One’s Final Though
I see this game being very, very tight! With the leagues worst defensive squad clashing with a team known for not being able to produce points I need to look at the specific squads. With a squad who is big up front and with a halves combination that may be new but will be around the Glitter Strip for seasons to come! I had not heard of Brimson before the start of the season but as a Titans fan seeing what he can do individually as well as taking work load of Ash and letting him play as he does, it excites me GREATLY!
Gold Coast by 4