The Titans take on the Panthers at CBUS Super Stadium in the first game of Super Saturday with only four games to go before finals.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Titans are coming off their worst performance of the season after a tough 28-12 loss to the last placed Eels.
Penrith once again come back from being down by 14 in the second half to beat the Raiders 40-31 in a thriller at Panthers stadium last week.
Keegan Hipgrave returns and will start in the back row, with Will Matthews playing off the bench and Jai Whitbread dropping back to the reserves.
Regan Campbell-Gillard made a successful return from his broken jaw last week playing off the bench. He returns to the starting front row this week and is a welcome return for Penrith. They seemed very lost in the few weeks he was out and provides great go-forward for his playmakers to do what they do best.
These two sides met back in round six with Penrith being way too classy at home and getting a 35-12 win after a double from Corey Harawira-Naera.
Penrith have had an eventful week, deciding to part ways with coach Anthony Griffin despite locking up another finals appearance and being four weeks out from the finals. The trash talking between Griffin and Phil Gould looks like it’s ramping up with Griffin clearly unhappy about his premature axing. Cameron Ciraldo takes over as caretaker coach for the rest of the season so it will be interesting to see how the players adapt to the change. With the amount of come from behind victories this season it almost seems like Penrith have tried to stick to their coaches game plan until the game is almost out of reach before they get frustrated and just start to play their natural game. Whatever the reason, it has been working for them as it was their 13th comeback win of the season. They need to start stronger coming into this time of year.
It was just a fortnight ago that the Titans put together a great 80 minute performance and dismantled the Warriors 36-12, but any confidence they took from that win is gone now after a horrible game against the last placed Eels who belted them 28-12. Execution just wasn’t quite there with a few disallowed tries as well as tries pulled back after the last pass was ruled forward. They are going to need to be on their game against a finals bound Panthers team who have plenty to prove.
Tyrone Peachey starts again at fullback and is proving to be one of the more versatile players in the NRL, covering pretty much every position the last few years and doing a great job no matter where he plays. He is up against the team he will be playing for next year and is making a strong case to play fullback for the Titans, so he will see this as an audition for Garth Brennan.
Trent Merrin plays game 200 and will be playing off the bench again. He’s providing great impact when he gets onto the field and has been mainly used in the front row this year instead of the lock role we normally see him in. Expect a big game from Merrin as he looks to break back into the starting side coming into the business end of the season.
Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Konrad Hurrell, 4 Brenko Lee, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 AJ Brimson, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Ryan James (c), 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, 20 Jai Whitbread, 21 Kane Elgey
Panthers: 1 Tyrone Peachey, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6 James Maloney (c), 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Sione Katoa, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris. Interchange: 14 Tyrone May, 15 Trent Merrin, 16 Moses Leota, 17 Corey Harawira-Naera. Reserves: 18 Christian Crichton, 19 Jack Hetherington, 20 Kaide Ellis, 21 Wayde Egan
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 11th August
Venue: CBUS Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Referee: Henry Perenara (head), Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski (pocket), Rohen Best/Jarrod Cole (touch), Jared Maxwell (bunker), Luke Patten (senior review offical)
WHO WILL WIN?
I don’t think the coaching change will impact the Panthers negatively, and after the garbage the Titans put up last week it’s hard to see them getting the win here. I am a long time Titans fan and this pains me greatly, but I’m tipping Penrith by 22.