Round 12: Roosters v Titans preview
Depleted Roosters take on improving Titans
The Sydney Roosters will play the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday afternoon this Indigenous Round. The Roosters are down on troops, only managing a close win over the struggling New Zealand Warriors last weekend. The Titans, with virtually no expectation on their shoulders, put in a spirited performance to take the competition leading Panthers all the way in their last game. It was good to see the likes of Ash Taylor stand up in the last game, with some confident kicks and a better defensive effort than what has previously been seen. This game would be the Titans' best opportunity to get a win over the defending premiers and we will see how far they can take them on Saturday.
In terms of team news, the Roosters seem to be losing more and more players to injury. Veteran winger Brett Morris is out for the game and with Daniel Tupou still out, Ryan Hall will come onto the wing. The team is otherwise unchanged from last week, but still of course without the likes of Victor Radley, Sam Verrills and Angus Crichton. The Roosters will still be expected to get the win over the Gold Coast despite the depleted side, but Trent Robinson will be hoping for a much-improved performance from last weekend.
The Titans haven't made an abundance of changes heading into the game after a narrow loss to the Panthers last weekend. Keegan Hipgrave starts in the second row, with Sam Stone out of the side. Sam Lisone comes onto the bench for Jai Whitbread in the other change to the 17. Further, AJ Brimson has been named in the reserves and will be a chance to make his long-awaited return.
Who to watch: Last season, the Roosters won big over the Titans at the SCG. James Tedesco was in stunning touch in that game and if the Titans defence doesn't aim up against the big Roosters' forward pack, then plenty of space will open up for "Teddy". If that does happen, look for Tedesco to score a few tries in what could end up a runaway win for the Roosters.
Look forward to seeing Ash Taylor play again this weekend against quality opposition. Last weekend a good performance went relatively unnoticed, but if he can build on that performance it will be good to see and he may be able to build some form heading into next season.
My tip: The Roosters were average last week against a spirited Warriors side, but were able to just get home. They will need to improve on that performance to please coach Trent Robinson. The Titans were good last week against Penrith and showed some grit in defence to be under pressure for most of the game. They will need to bring the same sort of energy against the defending premiers if they are with any chance. They may struggle to back up such a tiresome performance though. Roosters by 20.