Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Titans and Warriors on quest for consistency to move up log jammed ladder.
Such is the closeness of this year's competition, despite the Titans sitting 15th and the Warriors 13th, both are still realistic chances of playing finals football if they can start to string a few wins together in a period where Origin often wreaks havoc on the teams higher up the ladder.
The Titans in particular need to get a wriggle on as they sit two wins outside the top eight and will be hoping their upset victory over the Broncos on Sunday was the springboard to kick-start their season. Prior to the local derby win, they were disappointing when losing at home to the Cowboys in round 12, but managed another upset win over the Sea Eagles at Brookvale in round 11.
Under pressure Coach Garth Brennan has received a double blow leading into this clash with second-rowers Keegan Hipgrave (suspended) and Kevin Proctor (fractured eye socket) unavailable. They will be replaced by former Panthers duo Bryce Cartwright and Tyrone Peachey with the latter possibly eyeing off a mid-season return to his former club in the coming weeks. The only other change to last week's team sees Shannon Boyd return from concussion via the interchange.
The Warriors sit just one win outside the eight, but historically the Origin period is their time to charge up the ladder and they will be looking for a victory here at a venue they have tasted a considerable amount of success.
The theory of them thriving during the Origin period didn't get off to the best start this year after losing to the Storm last weekend in what was their second straight loss at home after going down to the Broncos the week prior.
Unlike his adversary, Coach Stephen Kearney has received a couple back from injury with Patrick Herbert replacing Gerard Beale at centre and Jazz Tevaga coming onto the bench in place of the suspended Chris Satae.
Last meeting: Round 4 2019 - Warriors 26 Titans 10
Despite being the away team, the Warriors have a strong supporter base on the Gold Coast and have won seven out of their last eight games played at Cbus Super Stadium. Earlier in the season the Warriors were comfortable winners.
Who to watch: With Joe Ofahengaue's injury ruling him out of Origin two, Jarrod Wallace will be looking to continue his rich vein of form as he pushes for a recall to the Queensland team. Averaging 211 metres over his last month of football, the aggressive front-rower has laid a strong platform for the Titans and will need to be at his best again to lift an injury depleted Titans pack.
Playing the 300th game of a storied NRL career, Adam Blair will be looking for a strong performance to celebrate the occasion. Now with his fourth club, Blair enjoyed the best years of his career at Melbourne before having mixed results at the Wests Tigers and Broncos. The New Zealand international was largely criticised for his lack of involvement in the early parts of the year and was eventually dropped for two weeks before returning at lock for the Warriors last two matches. Has been strong in defence since returning, but still needs to find more with the ball if the Warriors are to make a mid-season run.
The favourite: The Warriors hold slight favouritism to continue their strong run of form on the Gold Coast.
My tip: Despite the Warriors strong record at the ground, leaning the way of the home team here. With Wallace laying a strong platform and the underrated Tyrone Roberts weaving his magic, they should have too many points in them for a Warriors team that have struggled for points in their last two outings. Titans by 8.
1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Tyrone Peachey 13. Jai Arrow 14. Mitch Rein 15. Shannon Boyd 16. Jai Whitbread 17. Jack Stockwell
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitua 3. Peta Hiku 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Blake Green 8. Agnatius Paasi 17. Karl Lawton 10. Leeson Ah Mau 11. Isaiah Papalii 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair 9. Issac Luke 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Lachlan Burr
Referees: Grant Atkins, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Sideline Officials: Kasey Badger, Jeff Younis; Video Referees: Henry Perenara, Bryan Norrie;