Todd Warren previews the Titans vs Knights to be played at CBUS Super Stadium on Easter Sunday
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Gold Coast Titans
The Titans got their first win of the season with a good win over Penrith last week. They looked a different team compared to how they’ve been the first 4 rounds.
The Knights are coming off a loss to in-form Manly. They had a few setbacks with a head knock to Mitch Pearce and a sickening injury to Aidan Guerra. The pressure is mounting for the boys in Red and Blue. Many had them tipped for big things this season, but they have lost four in a row and need to win this game to be back into rhythm.
Jarrod Wallace will spend two weeks on the sidelines after being suspended for a shoulder charge. Unfortunate this happened after Jarrod put on his best performance of the season. AJ Brimson will also miss a few weeks with a thumb injury, which is a huge blow for the Titans. Ash Taylor has been named to start despite being under an injury cloud with a leg injury.
Important game for the Titans as they are eager to move up the table and keep up the form they had last week.
Gold Coast Titans squad: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Shannon Boyd 9. Mitch Rein 10. Ryan James 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow Interchange: 14. Phillip Sami 15. Keegan Hipgrave 16. Max King 17. Jai Whitbread Reserves: 18. Moeaki Fotuaika 19. Jack Stockwell 20. Jesse Arthars 21. Ryley Jacks.
As mentioned, Aidan Guerra suffered a serious injury when he got his leg caught and folded his shin in two. He was going in for surgery on Monday but looks to be out for a long stint. Herman Ese’Ese joins the squad.
The Knights are also desperate for a win, having also only won one game. They have lost their last four games and had been predicted by some experts to be finishing in the top four with their overhauled roster. The pressure is on Nathan Brown and his team to start meeting the expectations on the Knights after a lean few years.
Newcastle Knights squad: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Danny Levi 10. James Gavet 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitch Barnett 13. Tim Glasby Interchange: 14. Connor Watson 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Daniel Saifiti 17. Josh King Reserves: 18. Sione Mata’utia 19. Jamie Buhrer 20. Brodie Jones 21. Tautau Moga.
HEAD TO HEAD
This is the twenty-third meeting between the two clubs with the Knights holding a 11-9 advantage over the Titans, with two draws. The Titans winning the last three clashes over the Knights at CBUS (33-26 on May 19, 2018; 38-8 on April 29, 2017; 30-12 on March 6, 2016).
Ash Taylor vs Mitchell Pearce: Taylor has had a lot of expectations on him since coming to the Titans from the Broncos and we all maybe expected a bit too much too early. However he has been in the top grade long enough now and finally has a decent roster around him. Now is the time for him to step up and prove that he’s as good as we think he could be. He lines up against Mitch Pearce, who also came into the league with a lot of expectations, but has achieved a lot in his career thus far. Pearce also has expectations on him since leaving the Roosters and will be keen to get his new team back into the winners circle.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 21st April
Venue: CBUS Super Stadium
Referee: Chris Sutton, Phil Henderson
WHO WILL WIN?
It’s hard to tip either of these teams, but if the Titans can keep the momentum they gained last week I think they’ll be too strong. Titans by 4.