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2021 NRL Round One Preview, Warriors Vs Titans

Brad Inger previews the Round One clash between the Warriors and the Titans. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Date: 13/3, Time: 3pm (Local)

Warriors Team

  1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
  2. David Fusitu’a
  3. Euan Aitken
  4. Peta Hiku
  5. Ken Maumalo
  6. Kodi Nikorima
  7. Chanel Harris-Tavita
  8. Addin Fonua-Blake
  9. Wayde Egan
  10. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
  11. Eliesa Katoa
  12. Bayley Sironen
  13. Tohu Harris
  14. Jazz Tevaga
  15. Ben Murdoch-Masila
  16. Leeson Ah Mau
  17. Bunty Afoa
  18. Adam Pompey
  19. Sean O’Sullivan
  20. Tom Ale
  21. Josh Curran

Team Changes

IN: n/a
OUT: n/a

Titans Team

  1. AJ Brimson
  2. Corey Thompson
  3. Brian Kelly
  4. Patrick Herbert
  5. Anthony Don
  6. Ashley Taylor
  7. Jamal Fogarty
  8. Jarrod Wallace
  9. Mitch Rein
  10. Moeaki Fotuaika
  11. Kevin Proctor
  12. David Fifita
  13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
  14. Tyrone Peachey
  15. Sam Lisone
  16. Jaimin Jolliffe
  17. Erin Clark
  18. Phillip Sami
  19. Beau Fermor
  20. Herman Ese’ese
  21. Sam McIntyre

Team Changes

IN: n/a
OUT: n/a

Referee: Ashley Klein

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Warriors

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The Warriors have another tough year ahead of them, with the likelihood of spending all of 2021 on Australian soil growing firmer every day. However, the team is committed to the cause, and with inspirational captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck announcing his exit from the NRL at the end of the season, his teammates will be aiming to send him out on a high. With the reduced preseason and the COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria, the New Zealand side only had one trial match against their round one counterparts, the Titans. The match resulted in a 12-all draw, but Warriors fans would have been happy with the new recruits’ performances, namely Addin Fonua-Blake and Euan Aitken.

2021 Warriors Season Preview

Titans

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The Titans ended their 2020 campaign with a five-match winning streak, narrowingly missing out on the playoffs. That form, and the additions of David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, have increased their chances of returning to finals football. In the trial against the Warriors, the Titans showed how dangerous they can be, breaking through the New Zealand side’s defence almost at will at times. Fifita and Fa’asuamaleaui were constant threats on the edges. Their other signing, former Warrior Patrick Herbert, came close to scoring on multiple occasions and is a valuable addition to the squad.

2021 Titans Season Preview

PREVIEW

Both sides have recruited well and will be aiming to start their playoff aspirations with a strong performance straight out of the gate.

For the Warriors to get the result here they need their massive forward pack to get the edge over Gold Coast; if they are able to turn the momentum in their favour it will allow Chanel Harris-Tavita and Kodi Nikorima to lead their dangerous backline into plenty of scoring opportunities. The New Zealand side will also need to improve their edge defence and shut down the lethal Titans edges.

For the Titans to get the result here, they will need to keep the Warriors’ pack contained, wrapping the ball carriers up to prevent any offloads. With the ball in hand, they need to target the Warriors’ edges and utilise Fifita and Fa’asuamaleaui as much as possible. Jamal Fogarty will need to continue his recent form and utilise his pinpoint kicking to turn the large Warriors wingers around, preventing them from their damaging kick returns.

KEY STAT

The Warriors have the edge when it comes to playing at Central Coast Stadium, winning six out of 10 matches, where the Titans have only managed one victory out of four appearances. The last three encounters between these sides have been evenly matched. In 2019 the Warriors defeated the Titans 24-20, and in 2020 the Titans returned the favour with a 16-12 win. The last match they played was the 12-all draw a few weeks ago.

PREDICTION

This match is a tough one to call: both sides have top eight written all over them, and it will go down to the wire. I have gone with the Warriors; it will be close, but the New Zealand side like the Central Coast, and that’s why I have given them the edge here.

Warriors by 10.

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