Chloe Schibeci previews the match between the Titans and the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Gold Coast Titans
The Titans are struggling to gain momentum to begin this season, winning just two games from eight. Their most recent win was against the Newcastle Knights in round six, where they convincingly won by 24 points. Last Friday night, the lost to the Cowboys in an all-Queensland clash.
The Sharks have formed a win-loss pattern over the last month, continuing to struggle with injuries. They lost in round seven against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. They then went on to surprise everyone with a win against the Melbourne Storm at home last Friday night.
Gold Coast Titans
Alexander Brimson replaces Tyrone Roberts in the halves. Dale Copley returns from injury, replacing Phillip Sami who has suffered an ankle injury. Gold Coast local Jesse Arthars makes his NRL debut, coming off the bench.
Titans’ Squad: 1. Michael Gordon, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Tyrone Peachey, 4. Brian Kelly, 5. Dale Copley, 6. Alexander Brimson, 7. Ashley Taylor, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Shannon Boyd, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Bryce Cartwright, 13. Jai Arrow, 14. Jesse Arthars, 15. Moeaki Fotuaika, 16. Keegan Hipgrave, 17. Max King, 18. Jack Stockwell, 19. Jai Whitbread, 20. Ryley Jacks, 21. Brenko Lee
Sosaia Feki has been named in the starting side, moving Sione Katoa to the extended bench. The side is otherwise unchanged after their win against the Storm.
Sharks’ Squad: 1. Josh Dugan, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Bronson Xerri, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Aaron Gray, 6. Kyle Flanagan, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Paul Gallen, 14. Blayke Brailey, 15. Jayson Bukuya, 16. Jack Williams, 17. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 18. Scott Sorensen, 19. Sione Katoa, 20. Billy Magoulias, 21. Will Kennedy
HEAD TO HEAD
The match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Cronulla Sharks will open the NRL’s Magic Round, which sees all round nine games played at Suncorp Stadium.
The history between these two clubs is quite even. In the last fifteen matches they have played, dating back to 2011, the Sharks have won eight, the Titans six, and one draw.
Their last game was in round two of this season, where the Sharks hosted the Titans at newly-named PointsBet Stadium, claiming a 14-point win; their first of the year. Cronulla looked strong in the opening half, scoring all 20 of their points. However, the second half wasn’t as strong from the home side. The Titans were without their halves who suffered injuries, which undoubtedly had an impact on their performance.
Not even two months later, the Titans face the Sharks again. The Sharks still have a lot of injuries; however, their young players have been stepping up, particularly against the Storm last Friday night. Meanwhile, the Titans are struggling with a slow start to the year, only winning two games so far. This game will be important for them if they wish to attempt to save their season.
Titans versus the Sharks will be an entertaining game to open Magic Round. The Sharks will be looking for a second consecutive win following their victory against Melbourne. Meanwhile, the Titans will be hoping to claim their third win of the season during a home away from home match.
There are a few interesting matchups, one of which being the fullbacks, Michael Gordon versus Josh Dugan, who are valuable players for their respective clubs. Dugan has missed just one game this season due to injury, while Gordon has played every game for the Titans so far. Each player has scored tries for their club, while Dugan has had a try assist.
The fullback is one of the most important players on the field, and both Gordon and Dugan have the skills to assist their team in claiming a win on Thursday night.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday, May 9
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Kick-off: 7:50 PM
WHO WILL WIN?
Not many points will be scored in this entertaining Thursday night match. The Titans have a lot to prove, and it is an important game for them if they hope to gain momentum for the season. The Sharks will be hoping for another win after a surprising victory last weekend.
Sharks by 1.