Andrew Pelechaty previews the Round 4 opener at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast …
Gold Coast Titans Vs Wests Tigers
Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Thursday March 31, 8:05pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Titans: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Thompson 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. Esan Marsters 20. Sam McIntyre 21. Paul Turner 22. Sosefo Fifita 23. Tony Francis 24. Jacob Allick
After a good win against the Warriors the previous weekend, the Titans looked set for another massive win over Canberra in Canberra, leading 22-0 after 35 minutes (tries to Phillip Sami, Brian Kelly, Beau Fermor, and captain Tino Fa’asuamaleau). Then the Raiders began their amazing comeback: Semi Valemei scored just before the break, Matthew Timoko scored a quick double in the second half, then Sebastian Kris and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad finished it off as Canberra won 24-22: the third time they’ve come from a 22-point deficit since 2015.
As for the Titans, that performance summed up their rebuild since Justin Holbrook came on board: destructive in patches (and looking like the top eight side that they should be), but also capable of leaking mass points. It was similar to the Parramatta loss in the opening round: they went try-for-try with the Eels in the first 40, but were try-less in the second half, with the Eels’ three penalty goals enough for victory.
Ex-Bronco Jamayne Isaako plays his first game for the Titans at fullback, replacing the injured Jayden Campbell. Corey Thompson returns from a hand injury in place of Phillip Sami on the wing.Embed from Getty Images
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. James Roberts 4. Oliver Gildart 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Jock Madden 7. Luke Brooks 8. James Tamou 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Zane Musgrove 11. Kelma Tuilagi 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Joe Ofahengaue 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Alex Twal 16. Luke Garner 17. Alex Seyfarth 18. Thomas Mikaele 19. Starford To’a 20. Jake Simpkin 21. Austin Dias 22. Tukimihia Simpkins 23. Junior Tupou 24. Ruatapu Ngatikaura
The Tigers slumped to 0-3 (and in last place after Manly-Warringah beat Canterbury-Bankstown) with a 16-12 loss to the Warriors at Campbelltown. While it was an improved performance after the big loss to Newcastle, they couldn’t find enough points to beat the Warriors (despite a contentious ‘no try’ decision that wasn’t reviewed by The Bunker), failing to score in the second half after only trailing 14-12 at half-time.
The looming question is around Michael Maguire’s future: if the Tigers keep on losing, how long will he last? Though the Tigers’ problems run deeper than Madge, sacking the coach is always the easy band-aid option.
There are three big ins for the Tigers: James Roberts, Ken Maumalo, and Kelma Tuilagi. Luke Garner and Alex Seyfarth drop to the bench while Starford To’a and Jake Simpkin drop to the reserves.
Referee: Grant Atkins
As cliched as it sounds, this is a big game for both sides. The Titans, on paper, should be a top eight contender, so beating struggling sides like the Wests Tigers is essential. As for the Tigers, they need to start winning to salvage a season that’s quickly going south.
Back at the comforts of Cbus (which, as some International listeners of The Final Word cricket podcast thought, is not a literal sea bus), the Titans should be too good here, despite the nasty five-day turnaround. Expect a lot of points, as the Titans will take their frustrations from the Canberra collapse out on the poor old Tigers. The Tigers will need to follow Canberra’s blueprint to win here: complete their sets, use their kicking game intelligently, and put pressure on the Titans, who are still learning to be a consistent side under Holbrook.Embed from Getty Images
To borrow from the Full Credit to the Boys podcast, this game could be called “The Scott Prince Cup”. Prince played for the Tigers and Titans between 2004 to 2012. He played 73 games for the Tigers (2004-06), winning the Clive Churchill Medal in their 2005 grand final victory. Then he moved to the Titans (2007-12), playing 124 games for 719 points. He helped the Titans to the 2009 finals and the 2010 preliminary final.
Titans by 12.
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