The Gold Coast Titans are going head to head with the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday afternoon at Cbus Super Stadium.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors suffered a 6-12 loss to the Melbourne Storm last weekend in Auckland. The two teams were neck and neck in the first half until Suliasi Vunivalu scored for Storm. Neither team was able to gain momentum as they continued to cancel each other out throughout the full 80. Defence was the star of the game as Storm made it impossible for the Warriors to cross the line in the second half despite multiple attempts. The Warriors had numerous chances to win the match but didn’t capitalise on them which you can’t do when playing a team like Storm.
Gold Coast Titans
The Titans also took a loss in round 19 against the Newcastle Knights 24-30. The Titans were sitting comfortably with the Knights trailing 24-10 with 25 minutes to go. The team performed well throughout the match but they didn’t have enough in them to hold out the Knights remarkable come back in the remaining minutes of the match.
New Zealand Warriors
Blake Green returns at five-eighth for Mason Lino. Tohu Harris is back in the second row; Simon Mannering moves to lock with Adam Blair suspended. Sam Lisone replaces Tevita Satae on the bench.
Gold Coast Titans
Will Matthews replaces Leilani Latu on the bench in the only change.
New Zealand Warriors are in the top eight death seat and will be desperate for the two competition points against a side that is out of contention for 2018. Their last effort in Queensland resulted in a brilliant win over Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. That day it was a Shaun Johnson led effort where they established a good lead early and kept the Broncos at bay.
The Gold Coast Titans will be far from a pushover. Last week they led for a good fifty minutes of the game comfortably before being run down by Newcastle. When Ash Taylor has this side going forward they can be dangerous, as shown in their win over Wests Tigers at Leichhardt in round 16.
No doubt the halves will determine the result. Taylor is a wannabe Queensland Maroon but lost confidence just shy of Origin selection for game three. Johnson missed the Denver Test match between England and New Zealand. The Warriors have an edge with the return of Blake Green to their squad, who’s influence on this side sees the club likely to play finals footy in September.
Will the aggressive Keegan Hipgrave be able to put the Warriors forwards off their game? An experienced head like Simon Mannering will be pivotal to leading from the front.
The key is a good quick start for the Warriors. At Penrith they didn’t score inside the opening twenty and their heads dropped. The head-to-head records suggest the visitors will get the two points.
If the Warriors were to end up dropping out of the top eight this season, it would be their longest finals drought (eight years) in club history.
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Gerard Beale, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 James Gavet, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Isaiah Papali’i, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Simon Mannering interchange: 14 Jazz Tevaga, 15 Sam Lisone, 16 Joseph Vuna, 17 Bunty Afoa reserves: 18 Peta Hiku, 20, Karl Lawton
Titans: 1 Michael Gordon , 2 Anthony Don, 3 Konrad Hurrell, 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 Moeaki Fotuaika, 16 Jack Stockwell, 17 Will Matthews reserves: 18 Leilani Latu, 19 Brendan Elliot
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday July 29, 2018
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Kick-off: 4pm (NZT)
WHO WILL WIN?
The Warriors have more to play for this round as their performance against Storm showed they are striving to make the finals. The Titans will be lacking motivation and with the return of Green I think it will be a relatively easy win.
Warriors by 14