Titans v Eels preview

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Gold Coast Titans v Parramatta Eels Sunday 6:15pm at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina / Yugambeh

We finish a historic round of NRL with a second trip to south-east Queensland, where the Gold Coast Titans aim to avoid an 0-and-2 start against a Parramatta Eels side that has been billed as favourites for this season.

The new dawn in Robina ended up a false dawn, as Gold Coast Titans were never in the contest against grand finalists Canberra Raiders. It was a performance which will pose some questions from coach Justin Holbrook whether it was right for him to leave a dominant St Helens side.

The 2019 wooden spooners were disjointed and only found some rhythm when Tyrone Peachey moved into a roaming role with regular halves Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts unable to take a grip on the contest. New fullback Phillip Sami was another bright spot but the hosts will need a full effort to get over the Eels.

Parramatta were scrappy but did enough to triumph in a local derby against Canterbury with only ten points scored in the contest. The Eels were a high-flying attack in 2019, so the visitors hope a game against the Titans - who conceded 651 points last season - is the tonic they need.

No surprises but the key for the flowing attack is Mitch Moses and Clint Gutherson. The two key members of the Eels spine can create magic from anywhere on the football field, if they're on song it could be a long night for the home side.

Beating sides near the lower end of the competition hasn't been the problem for the Eels, but they need to build some consistency this season if they are to fulfil the promise of this squad and move into the top four in 2020.

Last meeting: Round 22 2019 - Titans 12 Eels 36

Who to watch: It's his birthday weekend so expect big things from Blake Ferguson! The Eels winger forward-flipped in vain last Thursday, so he's ready to put in his Olympics (if they happen) audition in on the glitter strip. Ferguson is the fulcrum for the Eels' effort most games - if he is chomping up the metres it gives the platform for a talented side to work off - especially after a low-scoring contest last week, they'll be prime to put on a show.

Ash Taylor back from an extended break was a fizzer in his first effort for 2020. The Titans looked directionless as they limped to a loss against Canberra. Facing a heavyweight Eels side, Taylor needs to find the right medium to give the Titans a chance and avoid the familiar feeling of failure which has permeated at the club.

The favourite: They were a pre-season favourite and won first up, so it is obviously the Parramatta Eels who travel to the Gold Coast looking to make it back-to-back successes.

My tip: The Eels were in a slugfest last weekend against the Bulldogs but they there should be enough space to exploit the porous Titans defense. Eels by 20.

1. Phillip Sami 2. Anthony Don 3. Kallum Watkins 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Sam Lisone 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow 14. Nathan Peats 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Moeaki Fotuaika

1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Shaun Lane 13. Nathan Brown 14. Brad Takairangi 15. Marata Niukore 16. Kane Evans 17. Peni Terepo

Referees: Henry Perenara, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Sideline Officials: Kasey Badger, Nick Morel; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Bryan Norrie;

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