Brad Inger previews the round two clash between the Titans and the Warriors. Here’s what we have to look forward to.
Gold Coast Titans vs New Zealand Warriors
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
Date: Saturday March 19, 2:00pm (5:00pm NZ time)
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Phillip Sami 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Greg Marzhew 6. AJ Brimson 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Isaac Liu 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 14. Will Smith 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Kevin Proctor 18. Jarrod Wallace 19. Tanah Boyd 20. Herman Ese’ese 21. Esan Marsters 22. Sam McIntyre 23. Paul Turner 24. Sosefo Fifita
The Titans welcome AJ Brimson back from a groin injury; his return sees Will Smith moved to the bench. Tanah Boyd drops to the extended bench.Embed from Getty Images
Warriors: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Adam Pompey 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Rocco Berry 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Euan Aitken 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh Curran 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Aaron Pene 17. Bayley Sironen 18. Kodi Nikorima 20. Ben Murdoch-Masila 21. Jack Murchie 22. Pride Petterson-Robati 23. Taniela Otukolo 24. Junior Ratuva 25. Edward Kosi
Reece Walsh and Matt Lodge are back from suspension and move straight into the starting line-up. Injuries to Shaun Johnson (pectoral), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (thumb) and Viliami Vailea (knee) have forced the Warriors to make further changes with loan player Jesse Arthars coming in at centre, Adam Pompey on the wing and former Titan Ash Taylor getting his first start for the New Zealand side at halfback. With Lodge’s return, Bunty Afoa has moved to the bench, with Ben Murdoch-Masila and Kodi Nikorima being dropped to the extended bench.
Referee: Adam Gee
The Warriors travel to the Gold Coast after a tough error-filled 28-16 loss to the Dragons, while the Titans will come in disappointed but confident after going toe to toe with the Eels, eventually losing 32-28. This is a big game for both sides, desperate not to start their season with back to back losses.
The injury to Shaun Johnson is a massive blow for the visitors but all eyes will be on Ash Taylor in his first appearance against the club he had previously called home since 2016.
The Titans will be looking for the returning Brimson to add some spark to their attack, and David Fifita is always a threat whenever he gets the ball, so the Warriors will need to reduce his impact on the match as best as they can.
The Warrior’s biggest strength is their forward pack; if they can dominate up the middle, they could find themselves heading for an upset win. However, the Titans know all of Taylor’s tricks, so they will take advantage of that knowledge to shut him down.
Both teams have struggled to play for 80 minutes, so the key to victory could be as simple as competing for an entire game.Embed from Getty Images
In the 29 clashes between these two sides, the Warriors have the edge winning 19 matches to the Titans 10. However, In the 2021 season, you could not split these teams. They had a 12-all draw in the preseason trial, a 19-6 Warriors victory in Round one and then in the final round, the Titans had the last laugh with their dominant 44-0 win, hinting that perhaps momentum has swung towards the home side.
Titans by 10.
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