The Gold Coast Titans snuck their way into the finals in season 2021 but were cruelly denied by the Sydney Roosters 25-24 in week one. The side will be hoping to again feature come finals time in 2022.
2022 TITANS SQUAD
Aaron Booth, Tanah Boyd, AJ Brimson, Jayden Campbell, Erin Clark, Herman Ese’ese, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Beau Fermor, David Fifita, Sosefo Fifita, Moeaki Fotuaika, Tony Francis, Shallin Fuller, Patrick Herbert, Jaimin Jolliffe, Brian Kelly, Alofiana Khan-Pereira, Sam Lisone, Isaac Liu, Esan Marsters, Greg Marzhew, Sam McIntyre, Kevin Proctor, Phillip Sami, Toby Sexton, Will Smith, Corey Thompson, Paul Turner, Joseph Vuna, Jarrod Wallace, Thomas Weaver.
KEY SIGNINGEmbed from Getty Images
Isaac Liu has signed on from the Sydney Roosters to bolster an already dominant forward pack. Liu will slot straight into either the front row or lock positions and provide much needed experience to what is a young pack overall. Liu brings with him a winning mentality having spent several seasons as a part of a successful Roosters outfit. Despite it not being a ‘big name signing’, expect Liu to prove to be Mr Consistent in the Titans forward pack.
KEY PLAYEREmbed from Getty Images
Several players shape as the one that needs to perform in 2022 but none more so than young halfback Toby Sexton. Sexton burst onto the scene in the back half of 2021 and forced coach Justin Holbrook into a tough position of who he would have feature as his halves pairing. The pressure will mount on the halfback this season with the departure of Jamal Fogarty (Canberra Raiders) and Ashley Taylor (New Zealand Warriors). It shows the investment and faith that they have in Sexton to be the long-term solution to the halves dilemma that the club has struggled to fill consistently.
PLAYER TO WATCHEmbed from Getty Images
In what could be a sign of things to come, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui has been appointed captain of the Titans for the 2022 season, which in turn shows that Kevin Proctor could be less favored for a starting role. Enter Beau Fermor. Fermor was starting in the back row towards the back end of the season last year and even got the nod in the elimination final against the Roosters. It was superstar David Fifita who was left on the pine to allow Fermor to start, however expect it to be Proctor to be watching on from the sidelines come round one. Fifita, with his attacking prowess, has all but locked down his spot on the edge for round one but it will be the other edge that will tell the tale of Proctor’s status at the club.
Fermor was electric in his role whilst started showing his pace for a big man and his tackle breaking ability, arguably in a similar mould to the man he replaced in the starting side. It will be interesting to see his role this season and how many minutes he can lock in on the edge.
Eels (A), Warriors (H), Raiders (A), Tigers (H), Eels (H), Sea Eagles (A), Cowboys (A), Panthers (H), Roosters (A), Dragons (Magic Round), Sharks (H), Broncos (A), Cowboys (H), Rabbitohs (H), Sharks (A), Knights (A), Broncos (H), Bulldogs (A), Raiders (H), Storm (A), Sea Eagles (H), Dragons (A), Knights (H), Warriors (A)
‘Pass the ball Patrick!’. The line could be heard around the Gold Coast on the 11th of September last year. The dramatic final play of the season from the Titans where they were left searching for answers after blowing a three-on-one situation on the Roosters try line. Fast forward almost six months and it’s time for the group to come together to attempt to make back-to-back finals series for the first time since the 2009/2010 seasons.
The loss of a few experienced players in Ash Taylor, Jamal Fogarty, Mitch Rein, Tyrone Peachey among others, shows that the club is looking at moving in a new direction with the young talent at their disposal. The acquisitions of Paul Turner and Aaron Booth is an investment in youth and with several players banging the door down in and around the system, there is a feeling of success coming down the track.
The Titans kickstart their season against the Parramatta Eels in round one and it will be the first match that the new spine will play together. Jayden Campbell, AJ Brimson, Toby Sexton and Erin Clark are the direction that Justin Holbrook has decided to go with for the season opener. With others such as Tanah Boyd, Aaron Booth and Will Smith floating around the top 17, the pressure will be on for the starting spine to perform from day dot.
The Titans have a favourable draw and only face last season’s ‘big three’ (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers) once each. It is shaped as a season of the unknown with a new look spine, but if they click, expect the Titans to be featuring in the finals series once again behind their explosive forward pack.