2023 NRL Preview Round 3: Titans Vs Storm

Dylan Jhugroo previews the Round 3 clash between the Gold Coast Titans and the Melbourne Storm.



Gold Coast Titans vs Melbourne Storm
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
Date: Saturday March 18, 3:00pm


Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Chris Randall 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Joe Stimson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Erin Clark 16. Jo Vuna 17. Iszac Fa’asuamaleaui 18. Sam McIntyre 19. Klese Haas 20. Toby Sexton 21. Keano Kini 22. Treymain Spry

Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Tyran Wishart 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Trent Loiero 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh King 14. Jonah Pezet 15. Alec MacDonald 16. Tariq Sims 17. Jordan Grant 18. Grant Anderson 19. Aaron Pene 20. Young Tonumaipea 21. Bronson Garlick 22. Kane Bradley

Referee: Grant Atkins

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The injury-ridden Melbourne Storm will welcome back a number of stars this week, as they visit the Gold Coast Titans in a match up between two teams who’ll be keen to put Round 2 behind them.

The Storm fell victim to arguably the upset of the season so far on Saturday night, losing 26-12 at home to a Bulldogs side still building their key combinations. Despite completing at 82% and matching Canterbury in almost all key indicators, the Melbourne outfit seemed to simply lack the troops to execute the game plan last week. While a ‘high-grade MCL injury’ to star forward Nelson Asofa Solomona certainly won’t help their cause, the club do have some massive inclusions this week in the form of Justin Olam, Tui Kamikamica, Xavier Coates, and club debutant Tariq Sims.

On the other side of the park, the Titans have injury concerns of their own. Despite welcoming back centre Brian Kelly this week, their spine has taken a hit with star recruit Sam Verrills expected to miss “the next few weeks” with a fractured collarbone. Fellow recruit Chris Randall will take his place in the starting side, with utility Erin Clark providing the necessary cover for hooker on the bench.

DEBUTANT WATCH: A couple of new faces to look out for in both sides this week. Highly-rated youngster Jonah Pezet makes his NRL debut off the bench, after an extremely impressive showing at halfback in last year’s Under-19’s State of Origin fixture. We’ll also get to see Tino 2.0, as young Iszac Fa’asuamaleaui comes in for his first NRL game off the interchange.

KEY POSITIONAL MATCH UP: Anyone who’s coached rugby league will tell you that the key to putting a disappointing week behind you is a fast start the week after. To do that, you need your forwards to burst out of the blocks, and set a platform so that the spine can establish control over the game early.

To head that this week, look no further than the two captains and number 10s. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui always has a point to prove against his former club, and can be the genuine game-breaker the Titans need to cause an upset on Saturday afternoon. But his opposite number Christian Welch is a workhorse, and will be looking to set an example for his young pack by fighting for every inch available against his old understudy.

UNDER PRESSURE: Titans halfback Tanah Boyd struggled to get a foothold in last week’s loss to the Dragons, with his side seemingly losing all sense of cohesion and direction once things started to fall the Dragons’ way. Young gun Toby Sexton put on two try assists and tackled at 91% in Queensland Cup last week, and could end up putting some serious pressure on Boyd’s halfback spot should the Titans drop more points in the coming weeks.


Titans 1, Storm 9.


Storm by 14 points.

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