Titans must shut down Merritt

Back-rower Mark Minichiello fears South Sydney's electrifying fullback Nathan Merritt will rip Gold Coast to shreds if the Titans don't stiffen their defence in the clash at Telstra Stadium on Saturday.

Merritt's move from wing to fullback paid instant dividends in his team's win over North Queensland last weekend when he had a superb game. Minichiello says the Rabbitohs flyer is even more dangerous at the back because he has more room to move.

The return of star forward Anthony Laffranchi from a serious knee injury is a major boost for the 10th-placed Titans, who are desperate to snap a four-match losing streak to stay in contention for the finals.