Date: 26th July, 2014
Venue: CBUS Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Gold Coast Titans: Kevin Gordon, Anthony Don, James Roberts, Dave Taylor, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Brad Takairangi, Daniel Mortimer, Luke Douglas, Beau Falloon, Nate Myles, Mark Minichiello, Paul Carter, Greg Bird. Interchange: Matt White, Mark Ioane, Tom Kingston, Maurice Blair, Cody Nelson
Parramatta Eels: Jarryd Hayne, Semi Radradra, Ryan Morgan, Willie Tonga, Vai Toutai, Corey Norman, Chris Sandow, Junior Paulo, Isaac De Gois, Fuifui Moimoi, Ken Edwards, Tepai Moeroa, David Gower. Interchange: Joseph Paulo, Peni Terepo, Pauli Pauli, Ben Smith
The Gold Coast Titans will be looking to win back to back games in round twenty, when they host the Paramatta Eels at CBUS Stadium on Saturday evening.
Having led the competition early in the season, the Titans have slipped well down the ladder, finding themselves in 11th spot. Their opponents, however, sit further down the table at 13th spot, with both the Gold Coast and Parramatta sides struggling for form in the middle parts of the season.
The Titans have won just three of their past five games, and while this doesn’t make for great reading for Titans fans, the fact the Eels have lost four straight puts the Gold Coast side in as favourites for the clash.
The return of Greg Bird is a massive boost for the side from the holiday strip, the Titans co-captain able to return after serving his suspension received during Origin.The other change to the Gold coast line-up sees Cody Nelson replaced the injured veteran Luke Bailey.
The Eels are persisting with the same line up that was comprehensively beaten by the South Sydney Rabbitohs 32-12 in round 19.
If the Parramatta side are going to return from Queensland with the two points, the key as always will be Jarryd Hayne and his ability to connect with his halves. Hayne showed in game one he can claim victory almost single handedly and will need to be at his best in both attack and defence if the blue and gold side are to cause an upset.
Corey Norman needs to step up his game as well. The former broncos play maker had a stellar start to 2014, but seems to have lost his way in recent weeks, and as a result so have his side. He and Chris Sandow need to call the shots, and look to connect with Hayne when he pops up as an extra runner. If they can do this, they will cause more than a few headaches for the Titans defence that at times can be likened to a leaky boat.
For the Titans, it should be a simple game plan: make hard yards up the middle before shifting the ball wide. They have been guilty of going to the edges too early in their sets in 2014, and the sideways movement has made the runner easy pickings for defenders.
Neither team has shown great recent form, however expect the Eels to turn it around a bit this week, their attacking flair to more than match the Gold Coast’s efforts. Until Albert Kelly returns from injury, it is hard to see the Titans threatening too many NRL sides.
Eels by 8