Central Coast Stadium hosts this Saturday afternoon clash between the Sydney Roosters and Gold Coast Titans.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Roosters will be seething after their loss to the Broncos last week. They had the lead with six minutes remaining but conceded two costly tries late in the game as the Broncos left with a 28-22 victory. The Roosters are still struggling for consistency, something that will have to be worrying coach Trent Robinson. One positive for the Roosters is the superb form of Latrell Mitchell, who has a great opportunity to secure himself a Blues jersey with a strong performance this weekend.
Gold Coast Titans
After losing five straight matches, the Titans finally gave their fans something to cheer about with a 33-26 win over the Knights last Saturday night. They were much improved last week but there’s still a lot to work on for coach Garth Brennan. They currently sit at 13th and hold the second-worst defensive record in the competition, conceding a total of 293 points over their 11 matches.
The Roosters are unchanged from their loss to the Broncos last week.
Gold Coast Titans
Kevin Proctor returns to the back row after recovering from a groin strain, which pushes Ryan James back to prop and Max King to the bench. Moeaki Fotuaika drops back to the reserves.
The Roosters were expected to be one of the favourites to take out the Premiership in 2018 but haven’t yet hit their stride, sitting just inside the top eight. They have a perfect opportunity this weekend to get their season on the right track against one of the worst defensive teams in the NRL.
The Titans had some impressive wins over the Raiders and Broncos early on but have since stumbled and are struggling to keep in touch with the top eight. A win here against the Roosters would really give this team some confidence, especially with all the off-field drama surrounding a potential change of home stadiums.
The key here will be the match-up in the middle of the field. The Titans will need their big forwards in Jarrod Wallace, Jai Arrow and Ryan James to get their team on the front foot. If they get dominated through the middle by the Roosters forwards, the likes of James Tedesco and Latrell Mitchell could have a field day.
While the battle in the middle will play an important role in deciding a winner in this match, one of the more interesting match-up to watch will be between Cooper Cronk and Ash Taylor. Cronk is a champion of the game, and many have pegged Taylor as his eventual replacement as the Queensland halfback.
Taylor is unlikely to play State of Origin this year, but a strong performance against someone like Cronk will certainly make him one to watch for in the future. He was brilliant against the Knights last week but he still has the tendency to disappear at times during games. If he can start to produce more consistent performances week-to-week he will eventually work his way into that coveted No. 7 jersey.
The Roosters have won four of their past five matches against the Titans.
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Joseph Manu, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Mitchell Aubusson, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 9 Jake Friend, 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Isaac Liu
Interchange: 14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Kurt Baptiste, 17 Victor Radley
Reserves: 18 Nat Butcher, 19 Sitili Tupouniua, 20 Eloni Vunakece, 21 Mitchell Cornish
Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Brenko Lee, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Alexander Brimson, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Ryan James, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Keegan Hipgrave, 13 Jai Arrow
Interchange: 14 Mitch Rein, 15 Max King, 16 Jack Stockwell, 17 Bryce Cartwright
Reserves: 18 Moeaki Fotuaika, 19 Konrad Hurrell, 20 Kane Elgey, 21 Morgan Boyle
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 26 May
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 3:00pm AEDT
WHO WILL WIN?
The game was there to be won for the Roosters last week and if they turn up complacent this week, an upset could be brewing for the Titans. However, the Roosters have too much strike power along their back line, and given the Titans have only won one game away from home this year, it’s hard to see them getting close in this match.
Roosters by 12