Brad Inger previews the final round clash between the Warriors and the Titans at Mount Smart Stadium. Here’s what we have to look forward to.
New Zealand Warriors Vs Gold Coast Titans
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium
Date:Saturday September 3, 3:00pm (5:00pm NZ time)
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Warriors: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Rocco Berry 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Tohu Harris 11. Euan Aitken 12. Josh Curran 13. Bunty Afoa 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Ben Murdoch-Masila 16. Eliesa Katoa 17. Tom Ale 18. Jack Murchie 20. Daejarn Asi 21. Adam Pompey 22. Ed Kosi 23. Jackson Frei
Plenty of changes for the home side, with Euan Aitken, Jesse Arthars, Wayde Egan, Marcelo Montoya and Rocco Berry all returning to the starting lineup; this means Viliami Vailea, Adam Pompey, Ed Kosi, Dunamis Lui, and Taniela Otukolo have all dropped out of the side while Freddy Lussick moves to the interchange.Embed from Getty Images
Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Greg Marzhew 3. Jojo Fifita 4. Phillip Sami 5. Corey Thompson 6. Alexander Brimson 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Sam McIntyre 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu 14. Paul Turner 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Klese Haas 18. Jarrod Wallace 19. Tony Francis 20. Toby Sexton 21. Jamayne Isaako 22. Sam Lisone
Only one forced change for the Titans after their win in Round 24, with Phillip Sami returning from injury, replacing Brian Kelly in the centres due to his suspension for a dangerous tackle.
Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
The Warriors come into the final round after a heavy 46-12 defeat against the Minor Premier Penrith Panthers. They showed glimpses of what their attack is capable of in the early stages last round; the key will be extending that out to 80 minutes while drastically improving their defensive line to not end the year with the most points conceded in the 2022 NRL regular season.
The Titans land in New Zealand off the back of a 36-26 over the Newcastle Knights. That win means they should avoid the 2022 Wooden Spoon. They have some superstars in their line-up, and they will be leaning on them as they look at ending a disappointing campaign on a positive note with a win here.
Both sides have struggled on both sides of the ball this season; the Warriors will need to rely on their front rowers to build some momentum for Shaun Johnson and Chanel Harris-Tavita to create some highlight reel moments to send the local fans home happy. The Titans will be looking at their skipper Tino to do all the heavy lifting before sending the ball out to the edges where the Titans found success against the Warriors earlier in the year.
The big factor in this match will be the home crowd, the Mt Smart faithful have been starved of football, and despite the poor results on the park, a sell-out crowd is expected on Saturday, which will make for an exciting yet imposing atmosphere.Embed from Getty Images
The Warriors have a slight edge in the 30 clashes between these sides, winning 19 to the Titans 11. The last match between these sides was Round 2 of this season, in which the Titans won 20-18. However, Gold Coast are not fans of playing in Auckland, having only won three of the twelve matches at Mt Smart. These sides also collided in the final round of the 2021 season, with the Titans cruising to a 44-0 victory.
Warriors by 18.
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