Pre Match
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4:05pm Sun May 22, 2022
Round 11 - Cbus Super Stadium, Robina

Round 11: Titans v Sharks preview

Miller to debut for Sharks in an important clash to end Round 11.

The Gold Coast Titans will host the Cronulla Sharks in the final game of Round 11 this Sunday afternoon. The two teams are coming away from Magic Round in very different spots on the ladder, and both clubs will want to continue in their quest for a top eight spot as the halfway point of the season approaches.

A very promising season start for Cronulla, in which they won four from their opening five matches, has started to falter. With only two wins from their past five matches, the pressure is on them to refind their early season form. With their bye round rapidly approaching, the Sharks will be looking to bolster their confidence heading into the week off.

A key factor in Cronulla's season so far is new halfback Nicho Hynes, who has played a big role in their promising wins thus far. However a suspension to fullback William Kennedy saw Hynes shifted to fullback by coach Craig Fitzgibbon for last weekend's disappointing loss to the Canberra Raiders (10-30).

This week, Fitzgibbon has opted to put Hynes back into the halves forcing Braydon Trindall onto the bench, with rugby sevens convert Lachlan Miller named to make his NRL debut at fullback.

Coming into this Sunday's clash, Cronulla will want to perform a lot better when it comes to discipline.

With fourteen errors and a completion rate of just 71%, a much better performance with the ball will be needed this weekend.

They also gave away a number of simple penalties early in the game against the Raiders, taking away any field position pressure that they may have been developing.

Dale Finucane hasn't been named following injury concerns, and is replaced in the starting side by Royce Hunt. Wade Graham has been given a starting spot, with Teig Wilton moving back to the bench. Jack Williams hasn't been named due to a shoulder issue.

The Gold Coast Titans put an end to their five game losing streak last Saturday when they beat the Dragons in a thriller.

A number of missed field goal opportunities meant that golden point lasted almost the full ten minutes, before a Dragons error gifted the Titans the field position necessary for Jamayne Isaako to cross the line in the corner.

The return of young fullback Jayden Campbell seemed to be a big boost for the Gold Coast last weekend. Having failed to earn a spot in the 17 following his early season injury, his return game against the Dragons couldn't have gone any better. With 266 run metres, 13 tackle breaks and 160 kick return metres, Justin Holbrook had no choice back to pick him in the number one jersey for the second week running.

Something that is going the way of the Gold Coast at the moment is their lack of casualties in comparison with other clubs. This has allowed them to name the same 17 this week as last week, and with David Fifita and Patrick Herbert both expected to return next week, the Titans could be in good shape heading into the origin/bye rounds.

This game is shaping up to be quite unpredictable. The Titans will need to exploit Cronulla's slightly unusual backline if they want any chance, while the Sharks just need to apply constant goal line pressure, and not waste any opportunities.

Cronulla have beaten the Gold Coast in their last six meetings, and will want to make it seven this Sunday.

Last meeting: Round 12 2021 - Sharks 38 Titans 10

Who to watch: Lachlan Miller has been named to make his NRL debut at fullback this weekend for the Sharks. With Will Kennedy still out through suspension, Miller will get his shot in first grade after appearing 8 times this season for the Jets in the NSW Cup. The former Australian Rugby 7s player made the switch back to rugby league at the start of this year, with the Sharks winning his signature over a number of different clubs and codes. If he can perform under pressure, the Sharks will be well on the way to winning this game.

Replacing the now-Raider Jamal Fogarty at the start of this season, Toby Sexton has played every minute of every game so far this season as the Titans halfback. With more experience comes more responsibility and higher expectations, so can Sexton consistently deliver for the Gold Coast? Justin Holbrook is certainly backing his ability, and a good performance this weekend might be all that is needed to lift both his and the team's confidence with the majority of the season still ahead.

The favourite: The Cronulla Sharks are the favourites to win this Sunday despite coming off a loss.

My tip: The Titans haven't displayed any consistency throughout their 2022 campaign so far, and won't be able to back up their win last weekend. Cronulla by 14.