With the season opener just around the corner we look at how Gold Coast Titans will go in 2021.
The Titans finished strong last year, with five wins to close out the season to finish ninth. In a full-length season they may have even scraped in to play finals footy.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
David Fifita (Brisbane Broncos, signed until 2023), Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Melbourne Storm, signed until 2023), Herman Ese’ese (Newcastle Knights, signed until 2022), Sam McIntyre (Wests Tigers, signed for 2021), Patrick Herbert (New Zealand Warriors, signed for 2021).
Jai Arrow (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Ryan James (Canberra Raiders), Shannon Boyd (retired), Bryce Cartwright (Parramatta Eels), Keegan Hipgrave (Parramatta Eels), Dale Copley (Brisbane Broncos), Nathan Peats (released), Kallum Watkins (released).
Warriors (A), Broncos (H), Cowboys (A), Raiders (H), Knights (H).
WHAT TO EXPECT
There’s big expectations on the Gold Coast this year, with a strong finish to 2020 and some huge moves in the player market, coupled with Justin Holbrook looking like just the coach the Titans needed. While anything less than finals footy will be seen as a failure for the Titans, it remains to be seen if they are a genuine contender for a top four position. They are lacking in one or two positions; and with a young side that hasn’t played a lot of footy together, the lack of experience might also hurt them a bit.
There is one certain off-contract player who would fill that position as well as giving them that leadership, but after sitting here for weeks waiting for his decision before I wrote this article, I’m not even going to bring it up because I can’t be teased anymore.
David Fifita is probably the biggest club signing since Jarryd Hayne. Fingers crossed this turns out a bit better. Still so young, but already a rep player who plays big minutes and has huge impact, he is going to be integral to how the Titans go this season.
With the additions of Fifita, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, and Herman Ese’ese, the Titans’ forward pack is probably the strongest it’s ever been. While the new recruits are quite young, they are far from inexperienced: with Fa’asuamaleaui fresh off a premiership win and debuting for Queensland; Fifita with Origin experience, as well as representing Australia; and Ese’ese getting close to 100 first grade games as well as representing Samoa and New Zealand. Kevin Proctor, Moeaki Fotuaika, and Jarrod Wallace are there to help the young boys, assuming Wallace gets his discipline under control.
If they can meet expectations and set the platform it will give Ash Taylor, Jamal Fogarty, AJ Brimson, and Mitch Rein opportunity to cause havoc through the ruck. Tyrone Peachey is always a worry for me with how frustratingly inconsistent he is. Injuries are also a concern with a bit of a lack of depth, but worries are especially around Brimson after we saw the difference he made when he came back for the winning streak and earned himself a Queensland call up with Kalyn Ponga ruled out.
On the NRL.com draw analyser, which gives every opponent a rating (1 for last placed Broncos and 16 for premiers Storm) the Titans have the second easiest draw behind the Knights. Obviously this is a big plus, but things change every year, so it’s hard to base anything on the draw alone.
My prediction for 2021 is a more of a modest one than a fearless one. Mainly because this team has hurt me so many times over the years =(
I’m predicting a seventh place finish to the regular season and the club to get through to at least the second week of finals. As I said earlier, I worry about their depth.
Top Tryscorer – AJ Brimson.
Top Pointscorer – AJ Brimson.
Club Player of the Year – Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.Embed from Getty Images