2 days ago
Roosters v Titans preview - 2017 Round 26
One way traffic at Moore Park this Sunday.
Let's face it, there isn't an awful lot of action to preview here - especially if you're a Titans fan.
With respect, it's been a s**t of a season for the men from Robina, culminating a fortnight ago in the punting of coach Neil Henry, in a season littered with injury woes, underperforming stars and ugly spats among the playing group.
While it's easy to point the finger at what's gone wrong at the Titans, their opponents have had a year littered with highlights - and finishing in second place would no doubt add to that list. After a calamitous 2016 that saw the Tricolours miss the finals, they've been resurgent and resilient this season, with Luke Keary coming of age in the halves and Mitchell Pearce producing some vintage club form to ensure their return to September footy.
In fairness to the Titans, they are fielding a relatively inexperienced outfit with only Jarryd Hayne and Kevin Proctor saddled with any represenatitive experience and just four others with more than 50 games played in first grade.
The Roosters come into this one mostly unchanged with Dylan Napa rested by coach Trent Robinson, Siosiua Taukeiaho to start in the forwards in his place. The Titans have a host of changes with Dale Copley, Jarrod Wallace, Nathan Peats, Pat Vaivai and Tyrone Roberts all unavailable from last week's side that lost to Canterbury.
Last meeting: Round 1 2017 - Titans 18 Roosters 32
This pair have met 15 times across the eleven seasons of the Titans' existence, and despite that time being a largely dominant one for the Roosters in terms of premiership credentials, the ledger is narrowly in the Titans favour 8-7. A win for the Roosters here would even things up. Of 7 games at Allianz in that time the Titans have won 4 and lost 3.
Who to watch: After a indifferent last 18 months, Aidan Guerra seems to be slowly hitting his straps again late in the season for the Roosters. For a number of weeks now he's managed to hold down a starting spot, with his omission from the Queensland Origin team after Game One seemingly a catalyst for his form reversal. Bound for Newcastle in 2018, he'll be keen to finish his Tricolours career on a high, and it all starts with a statement here against the Titans.
The favourite: The punters must the word "Titans" is code for "witches hats" because the visitors have absolutely no love.
The finals equation: While the Titans are already dreaming of Mad Monday, the Roosters' task is simple - win and you're in second place. A shock loss in this contest will see them sit in third or fourth depending on Parramatta's Friday night result against South Sydney, facing a trip to Melbourne or Brisbane in Week 1.
My tip: While an upset is always a chance and the Roosters losing wouldn't surprise anyone, my gut feel is that the mercy rule will come into play here. Roosters by 30.
1. Michael Gordon 5. Blake Ferguson 4. Mitchell Aubusson 18. Joseph Manu 2. Latrell Mitchell 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 3. Ryan Matterson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Zane Tetevano 16. Kane Evans 17. Connor Watson 19. Victor Radley
1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Anthony Don 3. Phillip Sami 4. Leivaha Pulu 5. William Zillman 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Morgan Boyle 9. Pat Politoni 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Joe Greenwood 13. Max King 14. Jamal Fogarty 15. Nathaniel Peteru 17. Ben Nakubuwai 18. Keegan Hipgrave
Referees: Ben Cummins, Matt Noyen; Sideline Officials: Russell Turner, Ricky MacFarlane; Video Referees: Luke Patten, Ashley Klein;