The Saturday afternoon fixtures kick off with the Warriors and the Titans at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium. Both sides won their round one matches, the Titans scrapping a two point win against the Canberra Raiders, while the Warriors dominated the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the Perth double header last Saturday.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Warriors had one of their best performances in a long time when they defeated Souths in Perth.
The Titans allowed Canberra to lead 18-0, but managed a brilliant comeback to win 30-28.
Head coach Stephen Kearney has named an unchanged side for his Warriors’ first game at home for the season.
On Tuesday Garth Brennan, the head coach of the Titans, also named the same 17 from last week’s win against the Raiders, however halfback Ash Taylor was ruled out due to a hamstring injury and replaced by Bryce Cartwright. Morgan Boyle is named as lock in the starting side.
The Warriors and the Titans will go head-to-head in Auckland when the Warriors play their first home game of the season. The Titans still have some work to do in terms of defence, however it was evident in their clash against the Raiders that they have plenty of strength in attack.
The Warriors dominated the Rabbitohs at Optus Stadium, winning 32-20. The outcome of the match wasn’t highly anticipated, given the history of the Warriors’ recent performances in Perth. They put on a strong performance in both attack and defence, however the number of conceded penalties needs to be addressed.
This game one has great entertainment value, with both teams trying to make it two from two.
The halfbacks Shaun Johnson and Bryce Cartwright. Johnson had a strong game in Perth, and will be looking to lead his team to another victory in front of a home crowd. Cartwright has moved into the halves from lock. Both players will be hoping to assist in their respective teams’ second victory.
Garth Brennan said that the Warriors were clinical, and believes that last weekend’s performance was the best 80 minute performance they have ever seen from the Warriors. He was particularly impressed with Shaun Johnson.
Brennan revealed he wasn’t worried about the result of last week’s match but rather the processes (“of what will get us to where we need to be”) in which his team played, so that he was aware of what improvements needed to be made ahead of the Saturday clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
The Warriors have defeated the Gold Coast Titans in 14 of their last 15 matches, which will give the home team more confidence.
1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 James Gavet, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Adam Blair, 11 Isaiah Papali’i, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Ligi Sao. Interchange: 14 Sam Cook, 15 Leivaha Pulu, 16 Sam Lisone, 17 Bunty Afoa, 20 Anthony Gelling, 21 Agnatius Paasi
1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Kane Elgey, 13 Bryce Cartwright, 8 Jai Arrow, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Leilani Latu, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Ryan James (c), 13 Morgan Boyle. Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Max King, 16 Will Matthews, 18 Keegan Hipgrave, 19 Joe Greenwood, 21 Alexander Brimson
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 17th March
Venue: Mt. Smart Stadium, Auckland NZ
WHO WILL WIN