Four Pointers: Gold Coast Titans 30 Newcastle Knights 12

The Titans Forward Pack Are a Force to Be Reckoned With

The Titans forward pack’s absolute domination of the Knights up the middle of the field showed that they possess the prowess to mix with the best forward packs in the competition. Neil Henry has thoughtfully assembled a fearsome pack full of unwanted players and rookies. In his first game back in the NRL, back-rower Zeb Taia showed plenty of promise, and topped off his night with a try. Former Maroons backrower Chris McQueen was great in his first game since leaving the Rabbitohs, and David Shillington also ran and tackled hard in his debut for the Titans. Future star Agnatius Paasi continued on his brilliant form from the Auckland Nines, by bending back the Knights line with each and every barnstorming run, and he impressed all viewers by charging onto a Greg Bird short ball to run through two defenders and storm 25 metres to the try line. Bird produced one of his best performances in years as he appeared to thrive in the lock position, hitting hard in defence, and taking the pressure off of the new halves pairing by slotting in as a third play maker. His sublime pass to Paasi was just a preview of his ball playing skills, as he later through a massive floating cut out pass to set Anthony Don up in the corner.

Number One is Where Mead Belongs
. Club captain William Zillman was set to play fullback against the Knights before withdrawing with a minor injury, and in his place winger David Mead thrived at fullback. Mead has continuously shown that he is the clubs best option at fullback when given his limited chances, as the club has a 70% win rate with him at fullback, and he even played fullback in the 2014 City verse Country representative clash.However, despite this, Titan’s coaches continue to bizarrely select Zillman has fullback. Despite Zillman’s expected return, Neil Henry should not change a winning formula, and keep Mead at fullback.

Knights in Desperate Need of Experience

Knight’s coach Nathan Brown made a daring decision in his first game for the club by selecting a record 5 players to make their NRL debut against the Titans, however the lack of experience and strength in the side was obvious. Although the experience will benefit the young players in the long run, Brown’s decision was one that proved to be costly, especially considering that the lowly-rated Titans may be one of the best chances that the Knights had at victory in what shapes to be long, gloomy season ahead for the Novocastrian’s.

Selection Headaches Ahead for Henry

Following a great all-around team performance by the Titans, head coach Neil Henry has some tough selection choices coming up for their Round 2 clash against the Melbourne Storm. As well as the aforementioned decision on who will play fullback, Henry also has to find a way to squeeze regular starters Luke Douglas and potentially Nene MacDonald into his 17. The Titans player of the year in 2015, Douglas returns the side following the serving of a suspension in round 1. Douglas’ return is a welcome headache for Henry, as he has to move either Paasi or Shillington to the interchange bench to make way for him, despite the duo’s outstanding performances against the Knight’s. MacDonald could also make a return from a knee injury, with Henry having to decide on dropping either Nathan Davis or John Olive to make way for the centre. Both players were strong in their first game for the club, however both will be regulated to the Intrust Super Cup if both Zillman and MacDonald are to make their returns.

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