Andrew Pelechaty previews the Saturday afternoon clash between the Gold Coast and Canberra …
Gold Coast Titans Vs Canberra Raiders
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Date: Saturday July 30, 3:00pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Sosefo Fifita 3. Phillip Sami 4. Brian Kelly 5. Patrick Herbert 6. Tanah Boyd 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Aaron Booth 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Erin Clark 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Isaac Liu 17. Jaimin Jolliffe 18. Sam McIntyre 19. Corey Thompson 20. Greg Marzhew 21. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 22. Paul Turner.
Minimal changes for the Titans, with captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui moving to prop for Erin Clark to play at lock; Brian Kelly replaces Corey Thompson in the starting 17.Embed from Getty Images
Raiders: 1. Xavier Savage 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Albert Hopoate 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Adam Elliott 14. Tom Starling 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Emre Guler 17. Corey Harawira-Naera 18. Matt Frawley 19. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 20. Ata Mariota 21. Semi Valemei 22. Peter Hola.
Canberra have named the same 17 from the Warriors win.
Referee: Ben Cummins.
While the Gold Coast are struggling to avoid the wooden spoon, Canberra can’t afford to take the Titans lightly.
Over the last few years, the Raiders have frustrated hardy fans by aiming up against the top teams one week, then completely botching the “winnable” game the next.
Last week’s Warriors game was a perfect example: coming off the magnificent Storm win, Canberra trailed 12-0 after seven minutes and, while they had plenty of chances, couldn’t score in the first half. They turned it around after half-time, with tries to Albert Hopoate and Sebastian Kris, followed by a double to Corey Harawira-Naera, to win 26-14. Even Ricky Stuart got carried away: tearing a calf on the sidelines.
While the Titans have lost eight straight games, they’ve been much more competitive in the last fortnight: losing 16-12 to Brisbane and 36-26 to Canterbury-Bankstown.
This is a big game for Jamal Fogarty: he’s starting to gel with Jack Wighton and will be looking for a standout performance against his former club. After being out of favour for a while, Corey Harawira-Naera was a key to victory last week, coming on for Elliott Whitehead. Like Mark Taylor during his horror run drought in the mid-90s, Whitehead looks out of pace and is holding onto his spot because he’s the captain.
Though Canberra have traditionally struggled in Queensland, they have won their last six at Robina since 2019, but four of those were “neutral” games forced by COVID-19 (Warriors in 2020, Cronulla-Sutherland, Parramatta, and St George Illawarra in 2021).
Their last clash (way back in Round 3) saw the Titans race to a 22-0 lead at Bruce (tries to Phillip Sami, Brian Kelly, Beau Fermor, and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui). Semi Valemei scored a vital try just before half-time and the Milk went on to win 24-22 (two tries to Matthew Timoko and singles to Sebastian Kris and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad). It was a turning point for the Titans, with just two wins since.
Canberra’s attitude will decide this game: they’re in a four-way tie for eighth and will need a big win to recoup their -25 differential. While they have a kind draw, they’re almost in must-win territory now.
The Titans will need David Fifita to justify his massive contract with a blinder; if the game is close enough for long enough, the dreaded old “Faders” could return, but can the Titans take advantage of it?
If Canberra are switched on from the kick-off, then they should win comfortably.Embed from Getty Images
Nine players have played for both the Titans and Raiders: Ryan James, Jordan Rapana, William Zillman, Shannon Boyd, Aiden Sezer, Jamal Fogarty, David Shillington, Kris Kahler, and Michael Hodgson.
Raiders by 14.
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