Pre Match
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3:00pm Sat June 15, 2024
Round 15 - Leichhardt Oval, Lilyfield / Wanngal

Round 15: Wests Tigers v Titans preview

NRL Cellar Dwellers do battle for pride! 

In a match fitting of the 3pm Saturday timeslot, it's time to prepare the tanks for the NRL's ultimate Tank Bowl in Round 15 between the Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans coming to you from Leichhardt Oval

The Wests Tigers are the NRL's punching bag, the moment something goes wrong, they are widely ridiculed for it. Fresh off a long losing streak and with an injury toll getting longer instead of shorter it's becoming a real possibility that Benji Marshall's men are set to collect their third wooden spoon on the trot. They have shown glimpses of promise, their start against the Dragons was so strong, putting together two quick tries and having the better of play. However, in areas that have let them down so frequently was where they lost the game. Poor discipline, poor handling and ineffective tackling saw the game go away from them last week.

To beat the Titans, they will need to return to the form they had earlier in the season as they return to where they collected win number 1. They need an all-round 80 minute effort to defeat the Titans in this contest. Jahreem Bula will need to get his hands on the ball more in the absence of Lachie Galvin and Jayden Sullivan as he can be explosive against a leaky Titans defence. They also need to hold their nerve and stay disciplined, it's been the big critique from Benji this season and has flagged changes for this clash.

Speaking of changes, onto team news. Jahreem Bula will line up in jersey 21, the 1 jersey has been retired in the memory of Keith Barnes this week. Also, Brent Naden moves to centre, Charlie Staines to wing in place of Solomon Alaimalo. Aidan Sezer and Api Koroisau form a new look halves combo with Tallyn Da Silva the new hooker. Fonua Pole starts at the back-row spot with Alex Seyfarth back to the bench while Solomone Faataape comes onto the bench. Adam Doueihi is a sneaky addition to the reserves. 

Gold Coast have had a bizarre season, you look at their ladder position and you would consider it to be a disappointment but in between they have put together some enthralling attacking football. Just at times this season due to a lack of personnel in the halves, the execution hasn't been enough placing pressure on an already fragile defensive unit which has leaked 29.33 points per game this season. 

To beat the Tigers, they simply need to keep their nerve in defence. The Tigers have the competition's worst attack scoring just 15 points per game so if the edges can communicate well and the middle defends tight, then the Titans will be able to expose the new look edges for the Tigers. Brian Kelly and Alofi Khan-Pereria have been a great combination on the left setting AKP up for 8 line-breaks in the last three matches. Jayden Campbell will be better after a quiet game back from injury last start as well. 

Onto team news for the Coast. Phil Sami returns from a hamstring injury in the centres which means Beau Fermor returns to the back row and Keenan Palasia goes back to the interchange. Jacob Alick is the man to drop out of the 17. 

Last meeting: Round 15 2023 - Titans 28 Wests Tigers 12

Who to watch: For the Tigers, it comes back to Aidan Sezer. Sezer has missed substantial game time after a dangerous tackle in Round 9 and it has cost his team significantly. His experience has been sorely missed during this extensive losing streak, and you have a feeling that a more experienced voice is exactly what the home side needs. Look for Sezer to bounce back with a point to prove in this one. 

For the Titans, the focus is on David Fifita. Fifita has been in the headlines all season about his future, backflip on the Roosters then snub from the QLD Origin squad. Despite all these distractions, he is having a terrific season having 10 linebreak assists, 19 offloads as well as tackling above 93% efficiency for the first time since arriving on the Coast. He is also getting involved in attack running well over 150m a game, expect Fifita to have an absolute field day against the Tigers.

Favourite: Gold Coast have the bookies money in this one. Gold Coast have a 4-1 record at Leichhardt including wins in their last four trips there. The Tigers haven't beaten the Titans in Sydney since 2011!

My tip: Keeping it short and sweet, the Titans should win well. The Tigers have way too many outs and are hurtling towards having the wooden spoon safely under lock and key. Titans by 14.