Elinya Chenery previews the final match of Round 24 between the Gold Coast Titans and Newcastle Knights.
Gold Coast Titans Vs Newcastle Knights
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Date: Sunday August 28, 4:05pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Sosefo Fifita 3. Brian Kelly 4. Phillip Sami 5. Greg Marzhew 6. AJ Brimson 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Jaimin Jolliffe 9. Sam McIntyre 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu 14. Paul Turner 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Klese Haas 18. Corey Thompson 19. Jarrod Wallace 20. Toby Sexton 21. Esan Marsters 22. Sam Lisone
Second rower Klese Haas (younger brother to Broncos’ and NSW prop Payne Haas) will make his NRL debut off the bench. Brian Kelly has overcome injury to be named in the centres, alongside Phillip Sami who has passed HIA protocols to play this weekend following a head knock last round. Patrick Herbert is likely to miss the rest of the season after picking up an MCL injury in last week’s match against the Dragons.Embed from Getty Images
Knights: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Krystian Mapapalangi 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Brodie Jones 13. Sauaso Sue 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Mathew Croker 18. Jack Johns 19. Chris Randall 20. Enari Tuala 21. Simi Sasagi 22. Jirah Momoisea
Bradman Best misses a second week in a row following injury, meaning last week’s debutant Krystian Mapapalangi retains his position in the centres. Tyson Frizell and Daniel Saifiti have both been named to return after being ruled out through injury and COVID-19 last week respectively. Sauaso Sue slots back in the starting side at lock.
Referee: Ben Cummins
With both teams struggling to find any form of success throughout underwhelming 2022 campaigns, the result of this one essentially only affects the battle for the Wooden Spoon. Despite both teams scraping into the eight and bowing out the first week of finals last season, neither side have been able to string together any stretch of form this year.
Regardless of their lacklustre results as of recent, the last time these two sides met in Round 16 it was an energetic and entertaining display that resulted in flying Knights’ winger Edrick Lee bagging five tries, along with David Klemmer sin binned and Jarrod Wallace sent off, for a final result of 38-12 Newcastle’s way.
While both sides are coming off defeats last weekend, the style of the losses were anything but similar. The Gold Coast side were defeated comfortably by a 20-point margin, despite benefitting from a one man advantage for almost 20 minutes of the match following the send-off of the Dragons’ Francis Molo.
After a week of chaos in the media for Newcastle, many expected the Raiders to run riot over the struggling club, although the match ended up going down to the wire and ending only with a converted try the difference. Of concern for Newcastle, they did not manage to score a point in the entire second half, letting a 14-point lead at the break go begging.
With the Titans boasting a huge amount of strike power through the likes of David Fifita, AJ Brimson and Beau Fermor, Newcastle need to find a way to sure up some dodgy goal line defence, lest they risk allowing the home side to pile on more points than they can reciprocate; even with the somewhat more impressive attack they presented in the first 40 against Canberra last week.
Desperate not to receive the wooden spoon, the Titans must win this match to take them 2 points clear of the struggling Wests Tigers, who are currently sitting below the Gold Coast in 16th on for and against alone. With the Tigers match up against the 10th placed Dragons a considerably harder task than the Titans against the Knights this week- along with the Titans having the home ground advantage- this could be the best chance the Gold Coast outfit have to make sure they avoid finishing at the bottom of the ladder.Embed from Getty Images
Excluding 2020, when the teams only met only once during the season, in seasons 2021,2019,2018 and 2017, when these clubs have met twice, the record stands at 1-1 for each team. Will this pattern continue on Sunday with the Titans securing a much-needed victory, or will the Knights buck the trend?
Titans by 4.
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