Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
2 days ago
Saving face for the "two T's".
The Titans and Tigers are already looking to 2018 after some lacklustre performances and injury-hit patches put paid to either of them making a meaningful charge at the finals this season. The Gold Coast have certainly looked the better of these two teams across the season - most recently when they accounted for the Sharks at home a fortnight ago.
Now many will argue the surf-side club are still a mathematical chance, but in reality coach Neil Henry will be wanting to try out combinations for the 2018 season for the remaining weeks. They've got some great young players and had they not suffered a huge injury toll earlier in the season they may well be fighting for a spot in the eight right now.
The Wests Tigers just need to keep turning up and showing passion. Last week they took the contest to the Eels and lost by just a solitary point. Moreover, their defence showed a surprising resolve not often seen this season.
Team news doesn't bode well for the Gold Coast back line with Konrad Hurrell out of the side. John Olive comes in, while for the Tigers Chris Lawrence and Sauaso Sue are back in the side which should boost their chances.
Last meeting: Round 16 2017 - Wests Tigers 14 Titans 26
The Titans hold the balance of power in this head to head contest with ten wins from seventeen games over the last ten years, six from ten of that allotment coming at Cbus Super Stadium. The Titans were victorious just six weeks ago when these two faced off at Campbelltown.
Who to watch: With so much expected of him this season, Jarryd Hayne really needs to shine in this last month of competition. Just about a year since he joined the beachside club late in the 2016 season, he hasn't had the imagined impact with many arguing his time to deliver a real impact is very much running out. This Sunday and for the five weeks that follow, it's important he puts on a show and leads from the back for a Gold Coast team who really should have delivered more in 2017.
The Wests Tigers now have a task to achieve - with Newcastle accounting for the Dragons on Saturday, they need at least another win to avoid the wooden spoon. I can't imagine either James Tedesco or Aaron Woods want their legacy at the club to end with the ignominy of last place in 2017, so in their own ways these two need to be at the top of their game. Woods in particular has attracted significant criticism with poor performances littering his season, particularly in as the Origin period wore on - and in Origin itself.
The favourite: The home side has the favouritism here, with not many backing the Tigers.
6. Tyrone Roberts 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 1. Jarryd Hayne 5. William Zillman 18. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 15. Morgan Boyle 12. Joe Greenwood 13. Max King 14. Karl Lawton 16. Leivaha Pulu 17. Nathaniel Peteru 21. Agnatius Paasi . Phillip Sami
1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Tim Grant 11. Chris Lawrence 12. Elijah Taylor 13. Matthew Eisenhuth 14. Alex Twal 15. Sauaso Sue 16. Michael Chee-Kam 17. Jack Littlejohn