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2015 NRL Match Preview: New Zealand Warriors vs Gold Coast Titans

Date: Saturday April 25, 2015 (ANZAC Day)

Venue: Mount Smart Stadium

Kick-Off: 1:45pm local, 11:45am Australia

Warriors: 1 Tuimoala Lolohea 2 Jonathan Wright 3 David Fusitu’a 4 Solomone Kata 5 Manu Vatuvei 6 Chad Townsend 7 Shaun Johnson 8 Jacob Lillyman 9 Thomas Leuluai 10 Ben Matulino 11 Bodene Thompson 12 Ryan Hoffman 13 Simon Mannering. Interchange: 14 Nathan Friend 15 Raymond Faitala-Mariner 16 Sam Lisone 17 Sam Rapira 18 Dominique Peyroux.

Titans: 1 Josh Hoffman 2 Anthony Don 3 James Roberts 4 William Zillman 5 David Mead 6 Aidan Sezer 7 Kane Elgey 8 Luke Douglas 9 Beau Falloon 10 Nate Myles 11 Ryan James 12 Lachlan Burr 13 Greg Bird Interchange 14 Matt White 15 Edward Pettybourne 16 Matt Robinson 17 Kierran Moseley 18 Mark Ioane

Preview

Konrad Hurrell has been dropped from New Zealand Warriors’ clash with the improved Gold Coast Titans in the ANZAC Day opening match on Saturday.

Hurrell and Albert Vete were casualties of the Warriors loss to the Cowboys in Townsville last weekend.  Andrew McFadden keen to eliminate errors which have dogged the Warriors all season.  David Fusitu’a replaces Hurrell in the centres while Sam Rapira replaces Vete.  Dominique Peyroux will be the eighteenth man against his former club.  Sam Tomkins is due back after the representative round from a knee injury.

The Titans with two consecutive wins behind them go in with added confidence ahead of their trip to Auckland.  Missing from their squad will be utility players Agnatius Paasi and Ryan Simpkins’ season is over after rupturing an ACL in their win over the Panthers.  Dave Taylor paid the price for a high tackle and won’t be part of the side.  Matt Robinson takes Simpkins’ place and Eddy Pettybourne for Paasi.  Lachlan Burr replaces Taylor in the starting side.

Greg Bird should retain his Australian jersey out of last year’s Four Nation loss to New Zealand for the ANZAC test next weekend.  New Zealand will automatically select Simon Mannering.  Thomas Leuluai and Shaun Johnson are others who will be first selected for the Kiwis when their side in announced on Sunday.

All the stats lead to a New Zealand Warriors win as they look to extend their winning streak against Gold Coast to nine matches.  Last year they embarrassed the Titans late season in winning 42-0 in the corresponding game.

The Titans showed last week they can play it tough through the middle and it will be the big names in Nate Myles, Bird and Ryan James to take it up to their opponents.  James Roberts and Will Zillman are good enough if they get the ball out wide to score the necessary points the Titans will need to win the game.

Going into the ANZAC Day test it will be Shaun Johnson wanting to send an early warning to the Kangaroos by having a blinder.  But he’ll need better help from his forward pack and the elimination of a high error count.

Prediction New Zealand Warriors to start getting things right and post a narrow victory over the Titans.  Warriors by four.

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